National Park Service History

National Park Service History This is the official page for the Park History Program of the National Park Service. https://www.nps.gov/parkhistory/contactus.htm The Park History Program, begun in 1931, preserves and protects our nation’s cultural and natural resources by conducting research on national parks, national historic landmarks, park planning and special history studies, oral histories, and interpretive and management plans.

Our staff helps evaluate proposed new parks, and we support cultural resources personnel in parks, regional offices, and Washington in all matters relating to the history and mission of the Park Service. Located in Washington and led by the chief historian, the program has specialized initiatives in Bureau history, Oral history, and Maritime history.

Operating as usual

As we observe National Disability Employment Awareness Month  October, the Park History Program spotlights an article th...
10/06/2020
Oral Histories & Disability Rights at the National Park Service - All of Us

As we observe National Disability Employment Awareness Month October, the Park History Program spotlights an article that features interviews with three NPS professionals whose disabilities have influenced their careers. They are also leaders of the Employees for the Advancement of People with Disabilities Employee Resource Group.

http://allofusdha.org/ada-turns-30/oral-histories-disability-rights-at-the-national-park-service/

Perri Meldon interviews three disabled employees at the National Park Service and narrates how, despite enhanced accessibility measures for visitors and staff, barriers for disabled people persist, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The A.D. King House has been designated to the African American Civil Rights Network. Reverend A.D. King was a prominent...
09/25/2020

The A.D. King House has been designated to the African American Civil Rights Network. Reverend A.D. King was a prominent leader of the Civil Rights Movement, and the youngest brother of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. From 1961 to 1965, he and his family resided at the home in Ensley, Alabama, while he led the congregation of First Baptist Church of Ensley through the Civil Rights Movement in Birmingham, known as the Birmingham Campaign. Learn more about A.D. King's legacy and the A.D. King House https://www.nps.gov/places/alabama-a-d-king-home.htm.

James Weldon Johnson (1871-1938) was a Bahamian-American novelist, activist and lawyer associated with the Harlem Renais...
09/02/2020

James Weldon Johnson (1871-1938) was a Bahamian-American novelist, activist and lawyer associated with the Harlem Renaissance. After graduating from Atlanta University (now Clark Atlanta University) in 1894, Johnson became a principal of the Stanton school in Jacksonville, Florida. The following year he founded The Daily American, a newspaper geared towards news and important issues affecting the Black community. In 1897, he became the first Black American to be accepted into the Florida Bar since Reconstruction. During this time, he also studied music and collaborated with his brother John Rosamond to compose music and operas. In 1900, to commemorate Lincoln’s birthday, he wrote his most well-known work “Lift Ev’ry Voice and Sing,” which was later adopted by the NAACP as the “Negro National Anthem.” Learn more at at go.nps.gov/Jacksonville. #discoverthenetwork

On August 27, 1960, James Weldon Johnson Park, known then as Hemming Plaza, became the site of the largest civil rights ...
09/01/2020

On August 27, 1960, James Weldon Johnson Park, known then as Hemming Plaza, became the site of the largest civil rights demonstration in the history of Jacksonville, Florida when nearly 3,000 protesters peacefully demonstrated as part of a coordinated
effort to challenge racial discrimination. The events that took place that day came to be known as Ax Handle Saturday and resulted in the eventual integration of public accommodations citywide. On the 50th anniversary of Ax Handle Saturday, James
Weldon Johnson Park became part of the African American Civil Rights Network.
Learn more at go.nps.gov/Jacksonville. #discoverthenetwork

Today we honor the 57th anniversary and the enduring legacy of the historic March on Washington. The March on Washington...
08/29/2020

Today we honor the 57th anniversary and the enduring legacy of the historic March on Washington. The March on Washington, also known as the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, was a massive protest march that occurred on August 28, 1963, when over 250,000 people gathered in front of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C. The march was conducted to highlight the racial, economic, and social challenges and inequalities African Americans were forced to deal with across the United States. It was also the occasion of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s now-iconic “I Have A Dream” speech.

In October 2019, the monument was chosen for inclusion in the African American Civil Rights Network. The Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial honors Dr. King’s legacy and sacrifice. Learn more about the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Civil Rights activists, community leaders and more, visit https://go.nps.gov/AACRNMLK #discoverthenetwork

Re-starting in Fall 2020, "Behind the Bricks" at Fort Point National Historic Site takes 4th through 5th grade students ...
08/28/2020
Behind the Bricks - Golden Gate National Recreation Area (U.S. National Park Service)

Re-starting in Fall 2020, "Behind the Bricks" at Fort Point National Historic Site takes 4th through 5th grade students into the world of a Civil War Era fort. Find out what it was like for the women and men who lived and worked in this massive brick fortification, now in the shadow of the Golden Gate Bridge: https://www.nps.gov/goga/learn/education/elementary-03.htm

Your crafty time travelers investigate Fort Point, the only massive brick and granite seacoast fortification on the West Coast. Come inside and experience the fort built during the height of the Gold Rush, and garrisoned with soldiers ordered to protect the city, its harbor, and the maritime goods t...

For the 100th anniversary of the ratification of the 19th Amendment to the Constitution enfranchising women, park ranger...
08/26/2020
Suffrage in 60 Seconds Introduction (U.S. National Park Service)

For the 100th anniversary of the ratification of the 19th Amendment to the Constitution enfranchising women, park rangers at the Belmont-Paul Women's Equality National Monument created these one-minute videos that highlight suffrage subjects and the heroes who made woman suffrage a reality—including those women who continued the fight for full enfranchisement beyond 1920. Learn more: https://www.nps.gov/articles/000/suffrage60seconds_intro.htm

When was the last time you voted? Enjoy these one-minute videos that highlight suffrage subjects and the heroes who made woman suffrage a reality—including those women who continued the fight for full enfranchisement beyond 1920.

The Park History Program is proud to be a part of the National Park Foundation’s #WomenInParks initiative. Over the next...
08/26/2020
Projects

The Park History Program is proud to be a part of the National Park Foundation’s #WomenInParks initiative. Over the next year, we will conduct interviews for “Women’s Voices: Oral Histories of Women in the National Park Service.” Even as we help ensure that centuries of women’s contributions to the U.S. are preserved and shared in national parks, the Park History Program is also committed to preserving and protecting the untold stories of women who work for the National Park Service.

Learn more about all the projects that the National Park Foundation is funding as part of the 19th Amendment centennial commemoration:
https://www.nationalparks.org/our-work/campaigns-initiatives/women-parks/projects

With support from generous individuals, foundations and companies, the National Park Foundation's grants will fund projects that unearth, preserve and highlight women’s stories tied to national parks across the country.

The University of Mary Washington and the City of Fredericksburg have partnered in an effort to more accurately tell the...
08/24/2020
UMW, City of Fredericksburg partner in effort to more accurately tell the local Civil Rights story

The University of Mary Washington and the City of Fredericksburg have partnered in an effort to more accurately tell the local Civil Rights stories that occurred within that geographical area. The University of Mary Washington is a public university in Fredericksburg, Virginia. Read more stories from the Civil Rights movement by visiting go.nps.gov/AACRN #DiscoverTheNetwork

Students and professors at the University of Mary Washington will assist Fredericksburg officials in efforts to more fully tell the story of the local civil rights movement.

Still looking for something fun and educational online?  New Bedford Whaling National Historical Park has lots of activi...
08/24/2020

Still looking for something fun and educational online? New Bedford Whaling National Historical Park has lots of activities and information about the historic whaling industry, which was so important to how Americans accomplished many everyday tasks, including lighting their homes. Can you figure out the connection between New Bedford, Massachusetts and Barrow, Alaska?

The 1908 Springfield Race Riot occurred during a time of racial unrest in the United States, during this time lynching a...
08/20/2020

The 1908 Springfield Race Riot occurred during a time of racial unrest in the United States, during this time lynching and other modes of anti-black violence were commonplace not only in the south, but across the country.

On August 14, 1908 newspapers published reports of an attempted assault of a white woman at her home the night before by a black man, and soon afterwards another assault of a white woman by a black man was reported. These reports angered the white community in Springfield and an inflamed mob sought out the assailants at the local jail. The mob was turned away from the jail by police and could not get to the alleged assailants so they took out their anger on two other black men in the area. Scott Burton and William Donegan, neither of which had committed a crime, were both quickly lynched.

The mob targeted the homes and businesses of Springfield’s black families, leaving white-owned properties untouched. Black residents attempted to fight in self-defense to protect their property and personhood only to be brutally attacked and in some cases killed, and over the course of the event and immediately after, nearly 2,000 black residents fled the city to never return. After nearly three days of constant violence, the state militia helped to restore order, and approximately 150 participants were arrested, although few were ever convicted of a crime.

Photo: Remains of a black family’s residence at 9th and Madison. Photo: Virgil Davis Collection.

08/18/2020
The Green Book: A Historic Travel Guide for Black America, Part I

The Green Book provided African Americans with a listing of safe places where they could travel, shop, or lodge and avoid being discriminated against or attacked due to Jim Crow laws. Learn about the places, men and women featured in the Greenbook visit http://go.aacrn.com/greenbook.

You can also learn more about this important publication and it's impact on a changing social climate during the Jim Crow Era by watching this video by National Trust for Historic Preservation Share your thoughts and comments with us below.

Between 1936 and 1964, the Negro Motorist Green Book was essential for the survival of thousands of Black Americans in an era of segregation, cemented into t...

The Selma to Montgomery National Historic Trail was established by Congress in 1996 to commemorate the events, people, a...
08/06/2020

The Selma to Montgomery National Historic Trail was established by Congress in 1996 to commemorate the events, people, and route of the 1965 Voting Rights March in Alabama.

Several surviving historic buildings, structures, and sites are also intimately associated with the national historic trail including the Brown Chapel A.M.E. Church in Selma and the Edmund Pettus Bridge.

Today, the Selma to Montgomery National Historic Trail stands as an enduring testament to the long struggle and sacrifices made by many individuals to preserve the right to vote as a fundamental cornerstone of American democracy.

Learn more at https://go.nps.gov/SelmaAACRN!

https://www.nps.gov/subjects/oralhistory/podcasts-episode-6.htmDid you know that national parks have been important site...
08/06/2020
Episode 6: Ed Rizzotto - Oral History (U.S. National Park Service)

https://www.nps.gov/subjects/oralhistory/podcasts-episode-6.htm

Did you know that national parks have been important sites of social reform? Listen to Ed Rizzotto describe the difference the Job Corps program made in the lives of youth at Gateway National Recreation Area. It's an episode of "A Sense of Place: Stories of Stewardship from the National Park Service."

ED RIZZOTTO (narrator): When I was first there, one of the staff referred to one of the students as “emancipated.” And I thought it was a racial pejorative.

The struggle for civil rights, specifically related to voting in America, forced leaders like Dr. Martin Luther King and...
08/06/2020

The struggle for civil rights, specifically related to voting in America, forced leaders like Dr. Martin Luther King and the late Representative John Lewis to organize a group of voting-rights activist to protest racially driven voter discrimination, this protest would become known as “Bloody Sunday” after the activist were beaten by Alabama state troopers on the Edmund Pettus Bridge in 1965.

A few months later, the Voting Rights Act was made law.

55 years ago, on August 6, 1965 President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Voting Rights Act into law which made discriminatory voting practices illegal. It is considered one of the most far-reaching pieces of Civil Rights legislation. 55 years later, we recognize the efforts of those civil right's leader to create sustainable change in America To learn more visit https://bit.ly/2XDiUl4

Recognizing the significance of the African American Civil Rights movement properties, facilities, and programs chosen f...
08/04/2020

Recognizing the significance of the African American Civil Rights movement properties, facilities, and programs chosen for inclusion in the African American Civil Rights Network, the Civil Rights Network offers a comprehensive overview of the people, places, and events associated with the civil rights movement in the United States. Learn more about these special places and discover the network at go.nps.gov/AACRN.

Are you a property, facility or program connected to the Green Book interested in joining the Network?  The AACRN has pr...
08/03/2020

Are you a property, facility or program connected to the Green Book interested in joining the Network? The AACRN has produced a historic context to assist owners with the application process https://go.nps.gov/AACRNGreenBook . Contact us if you have any questions!

The Green Book was an avenue for black women to defy traditional gender roles and achieve a measure of independence by h...
07/31/2020

The Green Book was an avenue for black women to defy traditional gender roles and achieve a measure of independence by having their businesses listed. Women like Modjeska Monteith Simkins, who was the matriarch of the Civil Rights Movement in South Carolina, are found throughout the book. Simkins was a leader in African American public health and social reform. For her contributions to the struggle for civil rights, Simkins is an American hero.

Learn more about Simkins and women like her listed in the Green Book go.nps.gov/AACRNGreenBook.

What is “The Greenbook”? The Greenbook was developed as a travel guide for African Americans to help them safely navigat...
07/31/2020

What is “The Greenbook”?

The Greenbook was developed as a travel guide for African Americans to help them safely navigate throughout the segregated South and places where African Americans often faced physical danger whenever they wanted or needed to take a trip away from home due systematic racism that was pervasive throughout the country in the form of formal Jim Crow laws, segregationist policies, informal community traditions, or simply the bigoted and racist attitudes of individuals.

The Greenbook was the brainchild of postman Victor Green and first published in 1936. Green chose to include businesses such as golf courses, country clubs, state and national parks, and other recreational pursuits also celebrated activities beyond basic survival. It tried to elevate the traveling experience from survival to enjoyment, and eventually to social action. Learn more at go.nps.gov/AACRNGreenBook

https://storymaps.arcgis.com/stories/538fdaaf3d0f4cb69d835cd78ab5515e SHARING EXCITING NEWS FROM A SISTER NPS PROGRAM!Th...
07/29/2020
Alabama African American Civil Rights Heritage Sites

https://storymaps.arcgis.com/stories/538fdaaf3d0f4cb69d835cd78ab5515e

SHARING EXCITING NEWS FROM A SISTER NPS PROGRAM!

The National Park Service’s Cultural Resources Geographic Information Systems (CR-GIS) and Historic American Buildings Survey (HABS), in conjunction with the Alabama African American Civil Rights Heritage Sites Consortium are happy to announce the release of an interactive Story Map of significant sites within the Alabama Civil Rights Movement. The Story Map is the culmination of a HABS documentation project comprised of high-resolution photographs and historical narratives. The project was intended to convey information about the powerful and inspiring events in the Civil Rights movement through the documentation of the places where they actually occurred. Included are select interviews that give voice to the stories, via links to the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute website.
#HABSnps #AfricanAmericans #AfricanAmericanHistory #BlackHistory #CivilRights #HistoricPreservation #SavingPlaces #ThisPlaceMatters #AAACRHSC #CulturalHeritage #PreservationThroughDocumentation #Alabama #BCRI #History #HeritageSites

A tour of the Alabama African American Civil Rights Heritage Sites

https://www.nps.gov/subjects/oralhistory/podcasts-episode-3.htmThe third episode of "A Sense of Place: Stories of Stewar...
07/29/2020
Episode 3: Laurel Munson Boyers - Oral History (U.S. National Park Service)

https://www.nps.gov/subjects/oralhistory/podcasts-episode-3.htm

The third episode of "A Sense of Place: Stories of Stewardship from the National Park Service" podcast features Laurel Munson Boyers, who called Yosemite National Park home most of her life. You'll be glad that you listened!

In conversation with Laurel Munson Boyers. What’s it like to spend most of your life in Yosemite National Park, from childhood to wilderness manager?

A veteran National Park Service ranger and superintendent reflects on the use and management of public lands in the past...
07/27/2020
Episode 2: Dick Martin - Oral History (U.S. National Park Service)

A veteran National Park Service ranger and superintendent reflects on the use and management of public lands in the past 40 years. Take a listen!

In conversation with Dick Martin. How have ideas and policies about how we take care of park resources evolved since the 1960s?

https://www.nps.gov/subjects/oralhistory/podcasts-episode-1.htmWho do you call when you're in trouble in a national park...
07/15/2020
Episode 1: Butch Farrabee + JD Swed - Oral History (U.S. National Park Service)

https://www.nps.gov/subjects/oralhistory/podcasts-episode-1.htm

Who do you call when you're in trouble in a national park? Listen to "The Helpers: Life, Death, and Safety in Our Parks" and hear Butch Farabee and J. D. Swed describe their work at places like Yosemite National Park and Denali National Park and Preserve.This is Episode 1 of "A Sense of Place: Stories of Stewardship in the National Park Service."

BUTCH FARABEE (NARRATOR): Here is this little six-year-old, laying on the floor. He's been gored by a deer. The local rangers are working on him; there's blood everywhere.

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