Identifying preservation values in African American communities : interpretation of the national register criteria
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Type of Work116 p.
ProgramMA in Historic Preservation
RightsTo view a complete copy of this manuscript please contact Goucher College Special Collections & Archives at firstname.lastname@example.org or (410) 337-6075.
SubjectsAfrican American architecture.
Historic districts -- Conservation and restoration -- African Americans.
Historic preservation -- African Americans.
Historic preservation -- Theses
This thesis research answers the question: How may the National Register criteria be interpreted for African American communities? Preservation values in African American communities throughout the United States have been shaped by a myriad of forces. This thesis research focuses on intangible cultural heritage in African American communities and how this heritage defines for many what is worthy of preserving. This thesis research found that African American intangible cultural heritage is defined in part by storytelling, oral tradition, association and kinship, and the role of music, and has been greatly influenced by African culture and the lasting impacts of slavery and desegregation. These factors revealed that the sense of place and identity of African American communities is highly valued, and more significance is placed on these intangible features than is placed on tangible features such as architectural style or the work of a master. This thesis researched answers as to how a community’s identified intangible cultural heritage could be utilized to support National Register designation in African American communities, especially those communities that may have challenges to obtaining designation due to a loss of historic fabric. This thesis research considered the recommendation by some that the National Register criteria be reevaluated and possibly changed, to ensure inclusiveness. This thesis research found that the existing criteria and processes in place for National Register designation are broad enough to be inclusive of all cultures. Individuals preparing and reviewing National Register nominations must be educated on how to work within the established framework when seeking designation.