DOCUMENTING THE CIVIL RIGHTS MOVEMENT IN MONTGOMERY

In 2020, the Alabama Historical Commission received funding from the National Park Service’s African American Civil Rights Grant program to document the history and places connected to the Civil Rights Movement in Montgomery. This project will support the work of those who have dedicated themselves to preserving these important stories and places. The Alabama Historical Commission is committed to raising awareness of the Civil Rights Movement as an important part of telling the stories of all people in Alabama's history. This current project will tell the stories of the people of Montgomery who worked long and hard in the cause of racial equality and will recognize the places that testify to their extraordinary successes, as well as the challenges and risks they faced.

The project will culminate in a National Register Multiple Property Documentation Form (MPDF) that will serve as a cornerstone document for nominating Civil Rights sites in Montgomery to the National Register of Historic Places. An MPDF is used for documenting property groups relating to particular themes, trends, and patterns of history. While an MPDF is not a National Register nomination in its own right, it establishes the National Register eligibility requirements for properties that may be nominated in the future. The document will make it easier to list these properties in the National Register by providing a historic context for the Civil Rights Movement in Montgomery and identifying places that are eligible for listing in the National Register.

Several properties or districts associated with Montgomery’s Civil Rights history will be nominated to the National Register as part of this project. Stay tuned for more information!

Pictured, are, clockwise from top left: Old Ship AME Zion Church, Tulane Building, Alabama State University, and Cleveland Court Apartments.


PROJECT TEAM

In 2021, the Alabama Historical Commission selected a team of three highly qualified consultants to complete this project.

Katie Randall of Afore Preservation Consulting is from Alabama and has more than a decade of experience working with communities to research and document their historic resources, often resulting in listing to the National Register of Historic Places or state register programs. She most recently prepared a nomination of an early twentieth century African American school in Lawrence County, Alabama.

Dr. Carroll Van West is the Director and Professor of History at the Middle Tennessee State University (MTSU) Center for Historic Preservation. He has previously prepared National Register Multiple Property Nomination Forms for the Civil Rights Movement in Birmingham and Selma and for the U.S. Public Health Service Syphilis Study in Macon County, Alabama.

Cheri LaFlamme Szcodronski is an architectural historian and founder of Firefly Preservation Consulting. She has a decade of experience identifying, documenting, researching, and nominating properties to the National Register of Historic Places, including schools, churches, neighborhoods, and cemeteries related to nineteenth and twentieth century African American history.

 

COMMUNITY INVOLVEMENT

We recognize the importance of working closely with local community members to identify Civil Rights sites and to learn what they think is important to document and preserve. There are several opportunities for community members to share their experiences and perspectives of the Civil Rights Movement in Montgomery.

In the fall of 2021, the Alabama Historical Commission, Katie Randall, and Dr. Carroll Van West held community input meetings in Montgomery. To be informed by email of future community meetings, send your contact information to Evelyn Causey at evelyn.causey@ahc.alabama.gov.

If you have information that you would like to share with the project team – a place that is important in Montgomery’s Civil Rights history, people or organizations that played key roles in the movement, community members interested in being interviewed for the project, or other research resources – please contact Katie Randall at katie@aforepreservation.com.

NATIONAL REGISTER OF HISTORIC PLACES

Established in 1966, the National Register of Historic Places recognizes places that have historic, architectural, or archeological significance at the local, state, or national level. Owner permission is required to list a property in the National Register. Listing in the National Register is an honorary designation and places no restrictions on property owners.

The Alabama Historical Commission works with property owners and community members to guide them through the National Register nomination process. For more information on the National Register program in Alabama, visit our National Register web page.

RESEARCH & RESOURCES

Many places associated with the Civil Rights Movement in Montgomery have already been recognized in the National Register of Historic Places and the Alabama Register of Landmarks and Heritage. View a list of these properties. For more information about these and other historic resources in Montgomery, visit our Historic Preservation Map.

In 2019-2020, the City of Montgomery contracted with PaleoWest to complete a Civil Rights Historic Survey, Planning, Research, Documentation, and Preservation Project that identified historic neighborhoods and properties associated with the Civil Rights Movement in the city. This report is an invaluable resource for the team preparing the MPDF for resources related to the Civil Rights Movement in Montgomery, and for anyone interested in this topic.

Montgomery is fortunate to have multiple institutions and organizations that document, preserve, and interpret the city’s Civil Rights history. This list includes institutions and organizations that provide interpretive programs that are open to the public and/or hold archival collections that are open to the public.

NPS DISCLAIMER

This program receives federal funds from the National Park Service administered through the Alabama Historical Commission. Regulations of the U. S. Department of the Interior strictly prohibit unlawful discrimination in departmental federally assisted programs on the basis of race, color, national origin, age or disability. Any person who believes he or she has been discriminated against in any program, activity, or facility operated by a recipient of federal assistance should write to: Director, Equal Opportunity Program, U. S. Department of the Interior, National Park Service, P. O. 37127, Washington, D.C. 20013-7127.

This material was produced with assistance from the African American Civil Rights Grant program, administered by the National Park Service, Department of the Interior. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Department of the Interior, nor does the mention of trade names or commercial products constitute endorsement or recommendation.