President Obama Designates Three Civil Rights Landmarks As National Monuments

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On Friday, President Obama designated three prominent civil rights sites as national monuments. The president stressed how these locations hold significance because they “preserve critical chapters of our country’s history, from the Civil War to the civil rights movement.”

Obama’s move follows other high profile entries, but the newest designations will pay tribute to civil rights and include the Birmingham Civil Rights National Monument, which encompasses the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church (where four girls died in a white supremacist-designed bombing in 1963) and Kelly Ingram Park, where protests led to iconic footage. Obama also created the Freedom Riders National Monument in Anniston, Alabama; and the Reconstruction Era National Monument located near Beaufort County, South Carolina.

As the Obama Administration winds down, the president has done his part to help preserve American history. In June, he designated the Stonewall National Monument to honor the LGBT movement, and in April, he launched the Blemon-Paul Women’s Equality National Monument to recognize Women’s equality. The president said these new designations will preserve memories of the civil rights movement’s launch:

“These monuments preserve the vibrant history of the Reconstruction Era and its role in redefining freedom. They tell the important stories of the citizens who helped launch the civil rights movement in Birmingham and the Freedom Riders whose bravery raised national awareness of segregation and violence. These stories are part of our shared history. I have sought to build a more inclusive National Park System and ensure that our national parks, monuments, and public lands are fully reflective of our nation’s diverse history and culture.”

These new monuments will be run by the National Park Service, and USA Today noted that the sites will “receive permanent protection” under the Federal Antiquities Act of Congress with no danger of backtracking by future administrations.

(Via USA Today)