NC Civil Rights Trail Application Information

Tab/Accordion Items

Sites must be one of the following: 

  • Protest, rally and sit-in sites 
  • Birthplace, childhood homes and primary residences of civil rights icons 
  • Churches and spaces where people organized 
  • Spaces and places where civil rights icons visited, stayed and spoke
  • Educational institutions (including primary schools, secondary/high schools and colleges and universities, where applicable)
  • Legal/courthouses (For example: the birthplace of a person who was critical to establishing civil rights legislation, or a courthouse where a significant Civil Rights Era case was decided upon)

All North Carolina Civil Rights Trail markers shall designate places, events, or persons of statewide (preferred) or regional historical significance connected to civil rights activities in North Carolina or the United States. Events must have taken place between 1941-1976.

“Historical Significance” shall mean any person*, place or event of the past that has been recorded, documented or recognized in a primary or secondary source, such as in books, diaries, journals, newspaper articles, speeches, documentaries, textbooks, artifacts, or other items. Statewide and/or regional historical significance must be documented by the applicant.

Connection to the Civil Rights Movement must also be verified by this research and documented by the applicant. 

*An individual cannot be considered for a marker until twenty-five years after his or her death.

Markers will be 18” x 32” cast aluminum with a 7’ aluminum pole. Each marker’s title line will allow 15 characters. The five body lines can have 27 characters each, including spaces and punctuation. Each marker will feature the NC Civil Rights Trail logo and color scheme.  When selecting a location, please bear in mind the size of the markers, they are smaller than NC State Highway Historical Markers.  We consider them to be "walk-up" markers that are best viewed by foot.

Image depicting the trail marker at New Ahoskie Baptist Church

Non-profit groups with a 501(c)3 designation (including churches), academic institutions and government entities will be eligible to receive a marker. If a potential applicant is not currently connected to one of these groups, the NCCRT Coordinator will work closely with them to identify appropriate local partnerships to move the application forward (i.e. identifying a fiscal agent or arranging a partnership between a grassroots group and a local municipality). Please be sure to connect with one of these groups prior to submitting your application. The Advisory Committee will not review applications that are missing this piece.

Applicants/sites that have secured a State Historical Highway Marker are ineligible.  However, we recognize that several Civil Rights sites have a State Historical Highway Marker.  These sites will be part of our upcoming NC Civil Rights Trail Digital Map.

A completed application that includes:

  • Photocopies/scans of primary sources that were written at the time of the event. (Primary sources include letters, deeds, newspaper articles, or meeting minutes that might substantiate the historical information in the application.) Photocopies/scans of secondary sources that put the subject in context. (Secondary sources include published scholarly articles or books.)
  • A bibliography listing all included primary and secondary resources
  • A historical essay – Tell us more!  Describe the marker subject and context, tell us why it deserves a marker.
  • Affiliation with a non-profit group, academic institution, or government entity.  Please include a current letter of support specific to this program.
  • A letter of support from the landowner granting permission for the marker to be installed.
  • Application must be typed rather than handwritten.

Examples of Strong Marker Applications: 

If materials are missing, the Advisory Committee will not review your application.  We recommend submitting several weeks prior to the deadline, this way if materials are missing, there is still time to gather them.  If you are having difficulty assembling the materials, please email our NCCRT Coordinator.  They will do their best to assist.

Downloadable application.

Applications may be submitted by email to or by mail to:

NC Civil Rights Trail Marker Program
NC African American Heritage Commission
4632 Mail Service Center
Raleigh, NC  27699-4632


If submitting application by email, we kindly request that application materials are submitted via Google Drive or Dropbox link with folders for the application, letters of support, and letters of permission. Please do not send as attachments to an email.

Applicant Submission and Notification Periods

Application Period Notification
October - March 31, 2023 April 2023
April - September 29, 2023 October 2023

During acceptance periods, applications will be accepted on a rolling basis. The Round V applications cycle will begin on April 1, 2023 and applications will be due by September 29, 2023. 

If your application does not result in a marker award, you may re-apply up to one time.

Applicants must include a letter from the landowner granting permission for the marker to be installed must be included in application package.  Consider landownership when selecting a site, is it possible that the owner will change?

Marker recipients are responsible for arranging marker installation with landowner and municipal officials (if necessary), and possible associated costs.  We recommend getting in touch with the roads maintenance department in your area.  Having trouble identifying them?  Email us and let us know!  Our NCCRT Coordinator can work to help make this connection.  In some cases, a local Boy Scout troop may help with the installation.

Markers cannot be installed within the state right of way.

After your application is submitted, it will be reviewed by the NC Civil Rights Trail Advisory Committee. You will be notified of your application status (marker approved, or application denied) by October 2023. 

If you do not receive a marker this cycle, you may re-apply one time. 

If you are awarded a marker, our team will work with you to finalize the text for your marker and arrange for its delivery to you, a business delivery address is required. You will be responsible for arranging marker installation with landowners (and municipal officials, if applicable). We are happy to offer guidance around organizing marker dedication ceremonies.  Costs associated with the physical marker and shipping are covered by the program.  And finally, your site will be added to the NC Civil Rights Trail Digital Map.