The ACHA 2017 Distinguished Service Award presented to U.S. National Park Service
For the past one hundred years, the United States National Park Service has maintained and preserved America’s heritage. Be it natural landscapes, historic monuments, significant dwelling places, or notable lands, the NPS has been responsible for ensuring that future generations come to know its past. For students of colonial North American as well as Roman Catholic history, the NPS has participated in promoting, directed and directly, the study of race, religion and people by maintaining El Camino Real de los Tejas, a series of Spanish missions and posts that connected the people of Los Adaes in present day northwestern Louisiana to the capital city of New Spain: Mexico City; as well as El Camino Real de Tierra Adentro National Historic Trail, which ran from Mexico City to Santa Fe. In the state of Texas, the San San Antonio Missions are maintained by the NPS, bringing to life colonial Catholic history in an area of the world that witnessed some of the most significant events in Mexican and American history. For Creole Catholics of Louisiana, the “Cane River Creole” site provides insight into a world of racial diversity as its inhabitants are descendants of European, African and Native peoples. And American Catholic history is connected to the National Park Service through two civil rights sites: the Lincoln Memorial, where Catholics for the first time participated in public demonstrations in support of jobs and freedom; and the Selma to Montgomery Highway, which commemorates the 1965 civil rights March were Catholic participation was notable.
For its contribution to preserving the diversity of our history and culture, the American Catholic Historical Association honors the National Park Service in its centennial year of service to the American people. Representing the NPS are Joy Beasley, Deputy Associate Director for Cultural Resources, Preservation and Science; and Sue Masica, Regional Director Intermountain Region.