Center for the Preservation of Civil Rights Sites

Interior of a Church with wood arches and a colorshop stained glass altarpiece
Photograph by Namratha Kondam, MSHP’21
Church of the Crucifixion, Philadelphia
Photograph by Namratha Kondam, MSHP’21

The Center for the Preservation of Civil Rights Sites (CPCRS) is devoted to the preservation of built environments that reflect and symbolize the civil rights movement in the US. CPCRS is committed to advancing the understanding and sustainable conservation of heritage places commemorating the African-American struggle, before and after the passage of the 14th Amendment.

The history of civil rights has many chapters—The Underground Railroad, Reconstruction, Separate but Equal, The Great Migration, The March on Washington, and the Black Lives Matter movement of today—each leaving its imprint on the American cultural landscape. CPCRS works to increase the visibility of these places, ensure their conservation, and lift up their ability to connect with contemporary communities.

CPCRS is led by Randy Mason (Faculty Director), associate professor in the Graduate Program in Historic Preservation, and a group of advisors. Partnerships with preservationists, stewardship organizations, advocates, scholars and other supporters of civil rights heritage are key to CPCRS’s work.


CPCRS​ Staff

Randy Mason, associate professor, Historic Preservation/ City Planning, Faculty Director

Brent Leggs, adjunct associate professor, Senior Advisor

Monica Rhodes, director of partnerships

Sarah Lerner, manager, Administration and Communications

Charlette Caldwell, research fellow


Center Advisors

Brent Leggs, executive director, African American Cultural Heritage Action Fund, National Trust for Historic Preservation

Monica Rhodes (MSHP’12), director, National Park Foundation

Lynn Meskell, Penn Integrates Knowledge Professor and Richard D. Green University Professor

Kwesi Daniels, chair and assistant professor, Department of Architecture, Tuskegee University

Amy Freitag (MSHP’94, MLA’94) executive director, J.M. Kaplan Fund

Bill Adair, independent arts and culture consultant

Aaron Wunsch, associate professor, Historic Preservation/ Landscape Architecture