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Congressman Lacy Clay

Representing the 1st District of Missouri

African American Civil Rights Network Act Signed into Law

January 9, 2018
Press Release
Clay’s Bipartisan Legislation Authorizes National Park Service to Create Historic Network Program Preserving and Commemorating the Ongoing Struggle for Full Equality

WASHINGTON, DC – The African American Civil Rights Network Act, historic, bipartisan legislation championed by Congressman Wm. Lacy Clay (D) Missouri; Senator Sherrod Brown (D) Ohio; and Congressman Jason Smith (R) Missouri has been signed into law.

“This is a historic day,” said Mr. Clay. “The African American Civil Rights Network Act will recognize, preserve, protect and share the remarkable American story of the modern struggle for civil rights, a unique national experience that touches every American, regardless of their age, ethnicity or heritage, The historic network will create tremendous educational opportunities by recognizing those brave souls from all walks of life who fought to make the promises enshrined in our constitution finally ring true.” 

The act, which earned 72 cosponsors from both sides of the aisle in the U.S. House, authorizes the National Park Service to establish a program to preserve and protect the memory of the people and places that were significant in the struggle to secure equal rights for African Americans during the modern civil rights era between 1939-1968; along with other sites that have a verifiable connection to the civil rights movement that are included in, or eligible for the National Register of Historic Places.

In too many places across this country, precious historic waypoints along the routes of that still largely untold story are at risk of being lost forever,” said the Congressman. “My hope is that the historic civil rights network and the programs that will grow from this law will honestly tell the full and sometimes painful story of the struggle for civil rights, not just for African Americans, but to foster healing, tolerance and understanding among all Americans. I am extremely grateful to my colleagues Congressman Smith and Senator Brown for their support, as well as our many cosponsors from across the nation.”

Congressman Clay’s new law is similar to legislation that created The National Underground Railroad Network to Freedom Act of 1998, presently administered by the National Park Service.

The law is supported by the National Trust for Historic Preservation; the National Urban League; the NAACP and the National Parks Conservation Association

For more information on this important new law, please go to: