[115th Congress Public Law 102]
[From the U.S. Government Publishing Office]
400 YEARS OF AFRICAN-AMERICAN HISTORY COMMISSION ACT
[[Page 131 STAT. 2248]]
Public Law 115-102
To establish the 400 Years of African-American History Commission, and
for other purposes. <<NOTE: Jan. 8, 2018 – [H.R. 1242]>>
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the
United States of America in Congress assembled, <<NOTE: 400 Years of
African-American History Commission Act. 36 USC 101 note prec.>>
SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.
This Act may be cited as the “400 Years of African-American History
SEC. 2. DEFINITIONS.
In this Act:
(1) Commemoration.–The term “commemoration” means the
commemoration of the 400th anniversary of the arrival of
Africans in the English colonies, at Point Comfort, Virginia, in
(2) Commission.–The term “Commission” means the 400 Years
of African-American History Commission established by section
(3) Secretary.–The term “Secretary” means the Secretary
of the Interior.
SEC. 3. ESTABLISHMENT.
(a) In General.–There is established a commission, to be known as
the “400 Years of African-American History Commission”.
(1) <<NOTE: Appointments.>> Composition.–The Commission
shall be composed of 15 members, of whom–
(A) three members shall be appointed by the
Secretary after considering recommendations of
Governors, including the Governor of Virginia;
(B) six members shall be appointed by the Secretary
after considering recommendations of civil rights
organizations and historical organizations;
(C) one member shall be an employee of the National
Park Service having experience relative to the
historical and cultural resources related to the
commemoration, to be appointed by the Secretary;
(D) two members shall be appointed by the Secretary
after considering the recommendations of the Secretary
of the Smithsonian Institution; and
(E) three members shall be individuals who have an
interest in, support for, and expertise appropriate to
the commemoration, appointed by the Secretary after
considering the recommendations of Members of Congress.
[[Page 131 STAT. 2249]]
(2) <<NOTE: Time period. Effective date.>> Time of
appointment.–Each appointment of an initial member of the
Commission shall be made before the expiration of the 120-day
period beginning on the date of enactment of this Act.
(3) Term; vacancies.–
(A) Term.–A member of the Commission shall be
appointed for the life of the Commission.
(i) In general.–A vacancy on the Commission
shall be filled in the same manner in which the
original appointment was made.
(ii) Partial term.–A member appointed to fill
a vacancy on the Commission shall serve for the
remainder of the term for which the predecessor of
the member was appointed.
(C) <<NOTE: Time period.>> Continuation of
membership.–If a member of the Commission was appointed
to the Commission as an employee of the National Park
Service, and ceases to be an employee of the National
Park Service, that member may continue to serve on the
Commission for not longer than the 30-day period
beginning on the date on which that member ceases to be
an employee of the National Park Service.
(c) Duties.–The Commission shall–
(1) plan, develop, and carry out programs and activities
throughout the United States–
(A) appropriate for the commemoration;
(B) to recognize and highlight the resilience and
contributions of African-Americans since 1619;
(C) to acknowledge the impact that slavery and laws
that enforced racial discrimination had on the United
(D) to educate the public about–
(i) the arrival of Africans in the United
(ii) the contributions of African-Americans to
the United States;
(2) encourage civic, patriotic, historical, educational,
artistic, religious, economic, and other organizations
throughout the United States to organize and participate in
anniversary activities to expand understanding and appreciation
(A) the significance of the arrival of Africans in
the United States; and
(B) the contributions of African-Americans to the
(3) provide technical assistance to States, localities, and
nonprofit organizations to further the commemoration;
(4) <<NOTE: Coordination.>> coordinate and facilitate for
the public scholarly research on, publication about, and
(A) the arrival of Africans in the United States;
(B) the contributions of African-Americans to the
(5) ensure that the commemoration provides a lasting legacy
and long-term public benefit by assisting in the development of
appropriate programs; and
(6) help ensure that the observances of the commemoration
are inclusive and appropriately recognize the experiences and
[[Page 131 STAT. 2250]]
heritage of all individuals present at the arrival of Africans
in the United States.
SEC. 4. COMMISSION MEETINGS.
(a) <<NOTE: Deadline.>> Initial Meeting.–Not later than 30 days
after the date on which all members of the Commission have been
appointed, the Commission shall hold the initial meeting of the
(b) Meetings.–The Commission shall meet–
(1) at least three times each year; or
(2) at the call of the Chairperson or the majority of the
members of the Commission.
(c) Quorum.–A majority of the voting members shall constitute a
quorum, but a lesser number may hold meetings.
(d) Chairperson and Vice Chairperson.–
(1) Election.–The Commission shall elect the Chairperson
and the Vice Chairperson of the Commission on an annual basis.
(2) Absence of the chairperson.–The Vice Chairperson shall
serve as the Chairperson in the absence of the Chairperson.
(e) Voting.–The Commission shall act only on an affirmative vote of
a majority of the members of the Commission.
SEC. 5. COMMISSION POWERS.
(a) Gifts.–The Commission may solicit, accept, use, and dispose of
gifts, bequests, or devises of money or other property for aiding or
facilitating the work of the Commission.
(b) Appointment of Advisory Committees.–The Commission may appoint
such advisory committees as the Commission determines to be necessary to
carry out this Act.
(c) Authorization of Action.–The Commission may authorize any
member or employee of the Commission to take any action that the
Commission is authorized to take under this Act.
(1) In general.–The Commission may procure supplies,
services, and property, and make or enter into contracts,
leases, or other legal agreements, to carry out this Act (except
that a contract, lease, or other legal agreement made or entered
into by the Commission shall not extend beyond the date of
termination of the Commission).
(2) Limitation.–The Commission may not purchase real
(e) Postal Services.–The Commission may use the United States mails
in the same manner and under the same conditions as other agencies of
the Federal Government.
(f) Grants and Technical Assistance.–The Commission may–
(1) provide grants in amounts not to exceed $20,000 per
grant to communities and nonprofit organizations for use in
developing programs to assist in the commemoration;
(2) provide grants to research and scholarly organizations
to research, publish, or distribute information relating to the
arrival of Africans in the United States; and
(3) provide technical assistance to States, localities, and
nonprofit organizations to further the commemoration.
SEC. 6. COMMISSION PERSONNEL MATTERS.
(a) Compensation of Members.–
[[Page 131 STAT. 2251]]
(1) In general.–Except as provided in paragraph (2), a
member of the Commission shall serve without compensation.
(2) Federal employees.–A member of the Commission who is an
officer or employee of the Federal Government shall serve
without compensation other than the compensation received for
the services of the member as an officer or employee of the
(b) Travel Expenses.–A member of the Commission shall be allowed
travel expenses, including per diem in lieu of subsistence, at rates
authorized for an employee of an agency under subchapter I of chapter 57
of title 5, United States Code, while away from the home or regular
place of business of the member in the performance of the duties of the
(c) Director and Staff.–
(1) In general.–The Chairperson of the Commission may,
without regard to the civil service laws (including
regulations), nominate an executive director to enable the
Commission to perform the duties of the Commission.
(2) Confirmation of executive director.–The employment of
an executive director shall be subject to confirmation by the
(1) In general.–Except as provided in paragraph (2), the
Commission may fix the compensation of the executive director
and other personnel without regard to the provisions of chapter
51 and subchapter III of chapter 53 of title 5, United States
Code, relating to classification of positions and General
Schedule pay rates.
(2) Maximum rate of pay.–The rate of pay for the executive
director and other personnel shall not exceed the rate payable
for level V of the Executive Schedule under section 5316 of
title 5, United States Code.
(e) Detail of Government Employees.–
(1) Federal employees.–
(A) Detail.–At the request of the Commission, the
head of any Federal agency may detail, on a reimbursable
or nonreimbursable basis, any of the personnel of the
agency to the Commission to assist the Commission in
carrying out the duties of the Commission under this
(B) Civil service status.–The detail of an employee
under subparagraph (A) shall be without interruption or
loss of civil service status or privilege.
(2) State employees.–The Commission may–
(A) accept the services of personnel detailed from
the State; and
(B) reimburse the State for services of detailed
(f) Procurement of Temporary and Intermittent Services.–The
Chairperson of the Commission may procure temporary and intermittent
services in accordance with section 3109(b) of title 5, United States
Code, at rates for individuals that do not exceed the daily equivalent
of the annual rate of basic pay prescribed for level V of the Executive
Schedule under section 5316 of such title.
[[Page 131 STAT. 2252]]
(g) Volunteer and Uncompensated Services.–Notwithstanding section
1342 of title 31, United States Code, the Commission may accept and use
such voluntary and uncompensated services as the Commission determines
to be necessary.
(h) Support Services.–
(1) In general.–The Secretary shall provide to the
Commission, on a reimbursable basis, such administrative support
services as the Commission may request.
(2) Reimbursement.–Any reimbursement under this paragraph
shall be credited to the appropriation, fund, or account used
for paying the amounts reimbursed.
(i) No Effect on Authority.–Nothing in this section supersedes the
authority of the National Park Service with respect to the
SEC. 7. PLANS; REPORTS.
(a) Strategic Plan.–The Commission shall prepare a strategic plan
for the activities of the Commission carried out under this Act.
(b) Final Report.–Not later than July 1, 2020, the Commission shall
complete and submit to Congress a final report that contains–
(1) <<NOTE: Summary.>> a summary of the activities of the
(2) a final accounting of funds received and expended by the
(3) <<NOTE: Recommenda- tions.>> the findings and
recommendations of the Commission.
SEC. 8. TERMINATION OF COMMISSION.
(a) Date of Termination.–The Commission shall terminate on July 1,
(b) Transfer of Documents and Materials.–Before the date of
termination specified in subsection (a), the Commission shall transfer
all documents and materials of the Commission to the National Archives
or another appropriate Federal entity.
SEC. 9. EXPENDITURES OF COMMISSION.
All expenditures of the Commission shall be made solely from donated
Approved January 8, 2018.
LEGISLATIVE HISTORY–H.R. 1242 (S. 392) (S. 1460):
HOUSE REPORTS: No. 115-105 (Comm. on Oversight and Government Reform).
SENATE REPORTS: No. 115-63 (Comm. on Energy and Natural Resources)
accompanying S. 392.
CONGRESSIONAL RECORD, Vol. 163 (2017):
May 1, considered and passed House.
Dec. 21, considered and passed Senate.