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DC Office of Planning Awarded Civil Rights History Project Grant

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

The District of Columbia Historic Preservation Office in the Office of Planning is one of 39 agencies and organizations in more than 20 states recently awarded a grant from the National Park Service (NPS) that will preserve and highlight the sites and stories associated with the Civil Rights Movement and the African American experience.

“Through the African American Civil Rights Grant Program, we’re helping our public and private partners tell unique and powerful stories of the African American struggle for equality in the 20th Century,” said Michael Reynolds, Acting Director of the National Park Service.

The Office of Planning’s “history project” was awarded a $37,500 grant, one of seven given in the Washington Metropolitan region to find stories and sites that are not well known.  

“Washington, DC, served as the backdrop for many historic events as African Americans across the nation fought for equal rights,” said Eric Shaw, Director of the Office of Planning.  “This grant will support the creation of a web-based heritage trail, rich with photographs and historical details dedicated to African American Civil Rights in the District of Columbia.”

The history project, when completed in 2018, will feature a stand-alone website that will provide the venue for telling the important stories and histories of individuals, groups, institutions, and other entities engaged in the struggle for Civil Rights for African Americans, locally and nationally.  One hundred sites will be identified, researched and recognized as part of this grant. Future additional sites and content will be updated to the trail as new information comes to light.

Congress appropriated funding for the new NPS African American Civil Rights Grant Program in 2016 through the Historic Preservation Fund (HPF).

The competitive grant program is funding 39 projects worth more than $7.75 million, including surveys, documentation, interpretation, education, oral histories, planning, and bricks and mortar preservation.

A 2008 National Park Service study, Civil Rights in America: A Framework for Identifying Significant Sites, served as the principal reference for determining the eligibility of proposed projects for the grant program.