[105th Congress Public Law 203]
[From the U.S. Government Printing Office]

[DOCID: f:publ203.105]

[[Page 677]]


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Public Law 105-203
105th Congress

                                 An Act

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''.


    (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 
                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

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                    (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 
                Underground Railroad.
            (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.


    (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 
        electronic information;
            (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 
following elements:
            (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

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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 
assistance to--
            (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 
        the Caribbean.

    (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.


HOUSE REPORTS: No. 105-559 (Comm. on Resources).
SENATE REPORTS: No. 105-217 accompanying S. 887 (Comm. on Energy and 
Natural Resources).
            June 9, considered and passed House.
            June 25, considered and passed Senate.