Research is essential to the Center’s contributions as an academic partner working with other preservation, stewardship, community, and scholarly organizations. Research is also key to making space for creativity in thought and practice.
CPCRS undertakes research on several fronts. Our team explores basic questions about understanding, responding to and sustaining heritage places associated with civil rights. We are probing the history and geography of civil rights heritage, the practical preservation needs and potentials specific to civil rights sites, and the community values connecting these sites to their stakeholders’ lives. Our research also aims to illuminate the history of specific sites, documenting interpreting them in collaboration with other disciplines.
We are searching for deeper understanding and more effective practices. We are interested in questions about what make a place a “civil rights” site? What are the benefits of acknowledging, repairing and reusing such places? How well are the full range of sites and narratives represented in current practice and scholarships? How must our practices and field shift to meet the future heritage needs of society?
Civil rights heritage work, we believe, will change the community of practice around historic preservation in the US – but how? The Center’s research produces basic knowledge; tests ideas and methods; and discusses, debates and publishes models for conservation, design and management for places marked by civil rights narratives.
Current Research Initiatives
Black Heritage x Digital Humanities
Header: Sanborn Fire Insurance Map, Montgomery AL, 1950