16 U.S. Code § -
The Congress finds the following:
(1) The Underground Railroad, which flourished from the end of the 18th century to the end of the Civil War, was one of the most significant expressions of the American civil rights movement during its evolution over more than three centuries.
(2) The Underground Railroad bridged the divides of race, religion, sectional differences, and nationality; spanned State lines and international borders; and joined the American ideals of liberty and freedom expressed in the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution to the extraordinary actions of ordinary men and women working in common purpose to free a people.
(3) Pursuant to title VI of Public Law 101–628 (16 U.S.C. 1a–5 note; 104 Stat. 4495), the Underground Railroad Advisory Committee conducted a study of the appropriate means of establishing an enduring national commemorative Underground Railroad program of education, example, reflection, and reconciliation.
(4) The Underground Railroad Advisory Committee found that—
(A) although a few elements of the Underground Railroad story are represented in existing National Park Service units and other sites, many sites are in imminent danger of being lost or destroyed, and many important resource types are not adequately represented and protected;
(B) there are many important sites which have high potential for preservation and visitor use in 29 States, the District of Columbia, and the Virgin Islands;
(C) no single site or route completely reflects and characterizes the Underground Railroad, since its story and associated resources involve networks and regions of the country rather than individual sites and trails; and
(5) The National Park Service can play a vital role in facilitating the national commemoration of the Underground Railroad.
(6) The story and significance of the Underground Railroad can best engage the American people through a national program of the National Park Service that links historic buildings, structures, and sites; routes, geographic areas, and corridors; interpretive centers, museums, and institutions; and programs, activities, community projects, exhibits, and multimedia materials, in a manner that is both unified and flexible.
(1) To recognize the importance of the Underground Railroad, the sacrifices made by those who used the Underground Railroad in search of freedom from tyranny and oppression, and the sacrifices made by the people who helped them.
(2) To authorize the National Park Service to coordinate and facilitate Federal and non-Federal activities to commemorate, honor, and interpret the history of the Underground Railroad, its significance as a crucial element in the evolution of the national civil rights movement, and its relevance in fostering the spirit of racial harmony and national reconciliation.
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