The US Park Service wants to lay the groundwork to establish the first park site commemorating Reconstruction. The initial step is an ambitious year-long study of the period—expanded to include the years 1861 through 1898—that will wrap up this spring.
One of the study’s leaders, Michael Allen, a community partnership specialist for Fort Sumter National Monument and Charles Pinckney National Historic Site, is spearheading the creation of a database of Reconstruction sites, stories, and important figures by reaching out to local organizations and churches across the South, state historic preservation offices, and Park Service sites. Meanwhile, historians Kate Masur, a professor at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois, and Greg Downs, a professor at University of California, Davis, assembled a short book on Reconstruction (set to hit shelves in parks soon) and are visiting Reconstruction-related sites from Mississippi to South Carolina. The study’s leaders hope not only to unearth good candidates for new parks and national historic landmarks but to develop educational resources for existing parks and materials for schools. Continue Reading