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Tuttle Courthouse Designated As National Historic Landmark

November 9, 2015

National Park Service/U.S.General Services Administration News Release

Release Date: November 9, 2015

Contacts: Benita Duling,, 404-507-5615 Saudia Muwwakkil,, 404-215-8755

Tuttle Courthouse Designated As National Historic Landmark by U.S. Interior Secretary

ATLANTA – The National Park Service and the U.S. General Services Administration will formally designate the Elbert Parr Tuttle U.S. Court of Appeals Building as a national historic landmark in a ceremony to take place on Monday, November 9, 2015. The ceremony begins at 10:00 a.m. at the courthouse, located at 56 Forsyth Street, Atlanta. U.S. Representative John Lewis will deliver the keynote address.

The designation is a result of years of National Park Service study on the history of racial desegregation in public education. The study was conducted by the National Historic Landmarks Program, which is administered by the NPS, at the request of Interior Secretary Sally Jewel.

Under Chief Judge Elbert Parr Tuttle, the Fifth Circuit developed a significant body of civil rights jurisprudence, overcame massive resistance in multiple school desegregation and voting rights cases, and more fairly applied and enforced the right to trial by jury of one’s peers. The greatest period of contribution of the courthouse was from 1960, when Tuttle became chief judge, to 1966 when a Fifth Circuit school desegregation ruling (U.S. v. Jefferson) marked a turning point in school desegregation. One of the “Fifth District Four,” Judge Elbert Parr Tuttle’s leadership and jurisprudence earned him a national reputation as one of the most significant judges of the 20th Century.

“In an era of significant resistance to racial equality, these monumental rulings defined civil rights laws, formed the basis of congressional civil rights legislation, and pioneered judicial reform,” said National Park Service Director Jonathan B. Jarvis. “These decisions are relevant to the study of Civil War to Civil Rights as well as modern conversations regarding civil rights, diversity, and inclusiveness.”

“We at GSA are honored to serve as stewards of some of America’s most treasured resources,” said GSA Public Buildings Service Commissioner Norman Dong. “The historic Fifth Circuit courthouses, including the Tuttle Courthouse, stand at the cornerstone of change that revolutionized our country. The National Historic Landmark designation provides a unique platform from which these buildings and their sacred stories will inspire the American people for generations to come.”

The courthouse is one of three federal courthouses that played a prominent role in the modern civil rights movement to receive the designation. The Frank M. Johnson, Jr. Federal Building and U.S. Courthouse in Montgomery, Ala., was designated on July 20, 2015, and the John Minor Wisdom U.S. Court of Appeals Building in New Orleans, La., will soon be designated. Each is managed by the United States General Services Administration, along with nearly five hundred historic federal buildings and courthouses.

  • About the National Park Service: More than 20,000 National Park Service employees care for America’s 408 national parks and work with communities across the nation to help preserve local history and create close-to-home recreational opportunities. Visit us at
  • About the U.S. General Services Administration: GSA provides workspace to more than 1 million federal civilian workers, oversees the preservation of more than 480 historic buildings, and facilitates the federal government's purchase of high-quality, low-cost goods and services from quality commercial vendors. Visit us at
  • About the National Historic Landmarks Program: The NHL Program was established in 1935 and works with state preservation officials, private property owners, and other partners interested in nominating properties for NHL designation. Completed nominations are reviewed by the NPS Advisory Board, which makes recommendations for designation to the Secretary of the Interior. If designated, property ownership remains the same, but each site receives a plaque and is eligible for technical preservation advice.
Last Reviewed: 2023-01-31