Text: H.R.1635 — 105th Congress (1997-1998)All Information (Except Text)
Public Law No: 105-203 (07/21/1998)
[105th Congress Public Law 203]
[From the U.S. Government Printing Office]
NATIONAL UNDERGROUND RAILROAD NETWORK TO FREEDOM ACT OF 1998
[[Page 112 STAT. 678]]
Public Law 105-203
To establish within the United States National Park Service the National
Underground Railroad Network to Freedom program, and for other purposes. <<NOTE:
July 21, 1998 - [H.R. 1635]>>
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the
United States of America in Congress assembled <<NOTE: National
Underground Railroad Network to Freedom Act of 1998.>> ,
SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE. <<NOTE: 16 USC 461 note.>>
This Act may be cited as the ``National Underground Railroad Network
to Freedom Act of 1998''.
SEC. 2. FINDINGS AND <<NOTE: 16 USC 469l.>> PURPOSES.
(a) Findings.--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
(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
(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
(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
[[Page 112 STAT. 679]]
(D) establishment of a variety of partnerships
between the Federal Government and other levels of
government and the private sector would be most
appropriate for the protection and interpretation of the
(5) The National Park Service can play a vital role in
facilitating the national commemoration of the Underground
(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.
(b) Purposes.--The purposes of this Act are the following:
(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.
SEC. 3. <<NOTE: 16 USC 469l-1.>> NATIONAL UNDERGROUND RAILROAD NETWORK
TO FREEDOM PROGRAM.
(a) In General.--The Secretary of the Interior (in this Act referred
to as the ``Secretary'') shall establish in the National Park Service a
program to be known as the ``National Underground Railroad Network to
Freedom'' (in this Act referred to as the ``national network''). Under
the program, the Secretary shall--
(1) produce and disseminate appropriate educational
materials, such as handbooks, maps, interpretive guides, or
(2) enter into appropriate cooperative agreements and
memoranda of understanding to provide technical assistance under
subsection (c); and
(3) create and adopt an official, uniform symbol or device
for the national network and issue regulations for its use.
(b) Elements.--The national network shall encompass the
(1) All units and programs of the National Park Service
determined by the Secretary to pertain to the Underground
(2) Other Federal, State, local, and privately owned
properties pertaining to the Underground Railroad that have a
verifiable connection to the Underground Railroad and that are
included on, or determined by the Secretary to be eligible for
inclusion on, the National Register of Historic Places.
(3) Other governmental and nongovernmental facilities and
programs of an educational, research, or interpretive nature
that are directly related to the Underground Railroad.
(c) Cooperative Agreements and Memoranda of Understanding.--To
achieve the purposes of this Act and to ensure
[[Page 112 STAT. 680]]
effective coordination of the Federal and non-Federal elements of the
national network referred to in subsection (b) with National Park
Service units and programs, the Secretary may enter into cooperative
agreements and memoranda of understanding with, and provide technical
(1) the heads of other Federal agencies, States, localities,
regional governmental bodies, and private entities; and
(2) in cooperation with the Secretary of State, the
governments of Canada, Mexico, and any appropriate country in
(d) Appropriations.--There are authorized to be appropriated to
carry out this Act not more than $500,000 for each fiscal year. No
amounts may be appropriated for the purposes of this Act except to the
Secretary for carrying out the responsibilities of the Secretary as set
forth in section 3(a).
Approved July 21, 1998.
LEGISLATIVE HISTORY--H.R. 1635 (S. 887):
HOUSE REPORTS: No. 105-559 (Comm. on Resources).
SENATE REPORTS: No. 105-217 accompanying S. 887 (Comm. on Energy and
CONGRESSIONAL RECORD, Vol. 144 (1998):
June 9, considered and passed House.
June 25, considered and passed Senate.