The Civil Rights Movement of the 50s and 60s arguably scored its biggest victory in 1964 when President Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act into law. The Act banned discrimination based on race, religion, sex, or national origin. The struggle leading up to that monumental moment was a crusade that can be traced all the way back to America’s inception as a one nation, under God.
That’s not to say that the Civil Rights Act solved our racial problems in America overnight. We are all still dealing with racial issues that take lives and break the spirits of minorities across the country on a daily basis. But it was was a step in the right direction, a step towards liberty and justice for all.
To commemorate the brave souls who risked their lives — and sometimes gave their lives — for civil rights in America, the National Parks Service just announced a huge set of grants to preserve and protect important monuments. The NPS is awarding $7.5 million in grants to 40 sites to make this happen.
Michael Reynolds, the acting director of the National Parks Service, explained in their news release that “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.”
In case you’re wondering if this will pass the current and very conservative US Congress, don’t. The budget was passed during last year’s congressional session. That congress decided to use funds from the Historic Preservation Fund to make the grants a reality. That fund is not based on tax-payer income either. It draws its income from federal oil leases.
The money will go to a wide range of needs including, “planning, development, and research projects for historic sites including: survey, inventory, documentation, interpretation, education, architectural services, historic structure reports, preservation plans, and ‘bricks and mortar’ repair.”
You can find a full list of the sites receiving restoration and preservation money on the National Parks Service’s website.