Statement by the President on Designating Monuments Honoring Civil Rights History
Today, I am designating new national monuments that preserve critical chapters of our country’s history, from the Civil War to the civil rights movement. 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. From designating Stonewall National Monument, our country’s first national monument honoring the LGBT movement, to recognizing the movement for women’s equality through the Belmont-Paul Women’s Equality National Monument, 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.
I am also expanding existing areas for some of our country’s treasured and historic natural resources in Oregon and California today, including stretches of California’s scenic coast and unique wildlife habitat in rugged mountain ranges and forests in Oregon and California. Over the last 8 years, I have sought to work with local communities, Tribal governments, businesses, sportsmen, members of Congress and others to protect the most important public lands for the benefit of future generations. Today’s actions will help ensure that more of our country’s history will be preserved and celebrated, and that more of our outdoors will be protected for all to experience and enjoy.
Secretary Jewell Applauds President’s Designation of the National Monuments to Preserve Pivotal Civil Rights Sites and the First National Monument to Civil War Reconstruction
Also Praises President’s Expansion of Existing National Monuments Protecting Natural & Cultural Resources in California & Oregon
WASHINGTON – As the country prepares to observe Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, U.S. Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell and National Park Service Acting Director Michael T. Reynolds today applauded President Barack Obama’s designation of three new national monuments to recognize the nation’s journey from the Civil War to the modern Civil Rights Movement.
The President Obama also expanded the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument in southwestern Oregon and the California Coastal National Monument to protect natural and cultural resources and areas of critical biodiversity, including highly important wildlife habitat.
Building on the Administration’s commitment to protecting places that are culturally and historically significant and that reflect the story of all Americans, President Obama today designated the Birmingham Civil Rights National Monument in Birmingham, Ala., the Freedom Riders National Monument in Anniston, Ala. and the Reconstruction Era National Monument in Beaufort County, S.C. to honor historic sites in both states that played an important role in American civil rights history.
“African-American history is American history and these monuments are testament to the people and places on the front-lines of our entire nation’s march toward a more perfect union,” said Secretary Jewell. “Now the National Park Service, America’s Storyteller, will forever be responsible for safeguarding the narrative of not only the sparks that ignited the Civil Rights movement but also the hope of the Reconstruction Era, which for far too long, has been neglected from our national conscience. Current and future generations of Americans will benefit from learning about our painful past and can find inspiration to shape a brighter future.”
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- NPS National Mall & Memorial Parks app
- Frequently Asked Questions
- 100th Anniversary Celebrations
- 1/12/17 FACT SHEET: President Obama Designates National Monuments Honoring Civil Rights History
- 1/12/17 Presidential Proclamation — Boundary Enlargement of the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument
- 1/12/17 Presidential Proclamation — Boundary Enlargement of the California Coastal National Monument
- 1/12/17 Presidential Proclamations — Establishment of the Reconstruction Era National Monument
- 1/12/17 Presidential Proclamations — Establishment of the Freedom Riders National Monument
- 1/12/17 Presidential Proclamations — Establishment of the Birmingham Civil Rights National Monument
- National Monuments Designated by President Obama
Thursday, January 12, 2017
President Obama signs a proclamation establishing The Reconstruction Era National Monument, The Freedom Riders National Monument, The Birmingham Civil Rights National Monument & The California Coastal National Monument