Birmingham Civil Rights District Named National Monument

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".preserve critical chapters of our country's history from the Civil War to the civil rights movement". Also included are the famed 16th Street Baptist Church, site of a 1963 church bombing that killed four young girls and proved a galvanizing moment for the civil rights movement; the adjacent Kelly Ingram Park, site of major civil rights demonstrations; and Bethel Baptist Church, headquarters of the Alabama Christian Movement for Human Rights and a target of racist violence.

The White House named two other monuments Thursday: Freedom Riders National Monument in Anniston and the Reconstruction Era National Monument in coastal SC. The Reconstruction Era National Monument in Beaufort County, South Carolina, will tell the story of a community built by freed slaves after the Civil War.

Under the Antiquities Act of 1906, the president can designate public lands as national monuments to protect their natural, cultural or scientific features.

Also, most of the Obama-designed national monuments that are receiving the most scrutiny are those meant to protect public lands from development rather than to honor a chapter of the nation's history. "These stories are part of our shared history".

The Post quotes Alan Spears, the National Parks Conservation Association's cultural resources director, as saying, "There was a time when we only focused on men on horseback, with swords". "That was a different time".

Barack Obama has now created or expanded more national monuments than any other USA president, after setting aside five sites in the second-to-last week of his administration. The proclamation came as a surprise, Eilperin and Dennis report, and the site will be the first within the national park system to commemorate Reconstruction.

Dr. Lawrence Rodell, the head of the Penn Center which stands at the center of the new Reconstruction monument, said Friday his organization now welcomes around 75,000 visitors a year.

As part of protecting these sites, Obama directed agencies tasked with managing the nation's land and water resources with having a more inclusive work force that reflects the diversity found in the United States, and asked that the agencies make these resources more accessible. They will now be overseen by the National Park Service, and become eligible for federal support.

The City of Anniston received almost half a million dollars for a Freedom Riders National Monument.

However at least one of the new protected landscapes, the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument, is more controversial. In 1938, U.S. Attorney General Homer Cummings, a Democrat, wrote an opinion that said presidents couldn't use an executive order to remove a monument designation, but as the San Jose Mercury News points out, the issue has never reached the courts. Hopefully President Trump will do something about that.

Democrats representing the affected areas had pressed Obama to expand the monuments.

The expansion doesn't consider residents who live in the area and whose property rights will be affected, LaMalfa said.

"We've been working to protect the best and restore the rest", he said by phone Thursday evening.

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