Interior Department Announces Expansion of Reconstruction Era National Historic Network

Last edited 02/15/2024

Date: Thursday, February 15, 2024

WASHINGTON In commemoration of Black History Month, the Department of the Interior today announced five additions to the Reconstruction Era National Historic Network, which was created in 2019 to recognize and amplify sites and programs throughout the country that share stories of freedom, struggle, education and self-determination associated with the period of Reconstruction from 1861 to 1900. 

National Park Service Director Chuck Sams announced the additions during a visit to Reconstruction Era National Historical Park in South Carolina today, where he highlighted the Department’s commitment to honoring the legacy and achievements of the Black community. With today’s additions, there are now 107 listings in the Network spread across 28 states and Washington, D.C. They include schools, museums, churches and organizations managed by local or private entities, as well as multiple national parks.  

“As we commemorate Black History Month, the Interior Department remains steadfastly committed to celebrating and honoring the diversity and resilience of the Black community,” said Secretary Deb Haaland. “The additions to the Reconstruction Era National Historic Network underscore the Biden-Harris administration’s efforts to ensure that a more complete and honest account of American history is shared.”  

“Reconstruction Era National Historical Park, and every member of the Reconstruction Era National Historic Network, enable us to reflect on the struggles and successes that took place during a time of significant transformation in our country,” National Park Service Director Chuck Sams said. “The diversity of sites in the network illustrate the depth and breadth of the people, places and events involved with the reconstruction movement.”   

Today’s announcement builds on the significant investments and recognition that have occurred to honor Black history during the Biden-Harris administration.  

The new additions to the network are:  

  • The 1838 Black Metropolis in Pennsylvania. This digital project examines the lives of 19th Century Black Philadelphians who built infrastructures for sanctuary for thousands of freedom seekers before, during and after the Civil War. Their website makes use of ArcGIS, Tableau and AI imaging combined with primary source archival research, to tell the histories of some of the most prominent Philadelphia families later involved with Reconstruction in South Carolina.    
  • The Buffalo Soldiers Museum at Fort Lawton in Washington. Built in 1898, this site was the base for multiple African American Army units known as Buffalo Soldiers. The Band Barracks building in the Fort Lawton Historic District will house a new Buffalo Soldiers Museum, which will work to educate, preserve and present the local and national contributions of America’s Buffalo Soldiers from 1866 through Reconstruction and into the 20th Century.    
  • The Dark Branch Descendants Association in North Carolina. The association is an independent, descendant-led organization devoted to centering the narratives and lived experiences of African American communities along the Lower Cape Fear River in North Carolina during the periods of enslavement and Reconstruction.   
  • Fort Stanton Historic Site in New Mexico. From 1866 to the 1880s, this was the home to a unit of the United States Colored Troops, and later Buffalo Soldiers of the 9th and 10th Cavalry Regiments.   
  • Fort Union National Monument in New Mexico. This site operated throughout Reconstruction as a base for Buffalo Soldiers of the 8th and 9th Cavalry Regiments.    

Research or educational sites, facilities and programs with connections to the Reconstruction Era of 1861-1900 can apply to be in the network. More information about eligibility and the application process is available online. 


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