To promote the legacy of the civil rights movement by preserving historic buildings, protecting authentic stories, and empowering communities.
To instruct, inspire and empower each generation to use civil rights history as a tool for community revival, renewal and revitalization.
STRATEGIC FOCUS – BUILDING CAPACITY FOR SUSTAINABILITY
The Consortium sites include properties that are large and small, urban and rural, religious and secular with various governance structures. Recognizing this wide range of challenges, the Consortium strives to build their capacity for sustainability regardless of their current stage of development. The Consortium work focuses on five strategic areas.
- Increased Visibility (Local, regional and national) – The Consortium’s public relations strategy included media coverage, regional promotional events as well as an online presence that includes a website, social media and e-newsletter. Its distinctive logo appears in print and digital brochures as well as banners and rack cards displayed at each site.
- Professional development – Site representatives are committed volunteers from diverse career fields and have benefited from training led by skilled professionals in the fields of preservation, organizational development, fundraising, grant writing, information technology, archival best practices, tourism and interpretation.
- Documentation – The Consortium’s ongoing documentation efforts focus on two areas: collection and digitization of paper documents, photographs, and other materials and collection of oral histories. Each site will retain ownership of original materials, received hard copies and have digital access to all documents. These collections will be made accessible through a digital archives. This documentation is the cornerstone for community revitalization that uses historic preservation as the catalyst for economic development.
- Access to Resources – With new connections to funding agencies, Consortium sites have received local and federal grants, including $3.3 million in civil rights grants from the National Park Service in 2018 and 2019. A funder supported the Consortium mini-grant program that provided competitive awards of $5,000 to individual sites based on their identified needs.
- Education and Outreach: Consortium site representatives identified engaging a generation as a critical need. To address this need, the Consortium will develop initiatives focused on youth development, curriculum resources, and teacher training. The growth in civil rights tourism provides an opportunity to educate a diverse audience and is a key to financial sustainability for the sites. The Consortium is committed to helping their sites to build their capacity to serve so that they can benefit from tourism.