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Obama names 3 national monuments honoring civil rights

Obama names 3 national monuments honoring civil rights

The president also enlarged once more the California Coastal National Monument, which was established by Clinton and expanded by Obama in 2014, and the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument, another Clinton monument, by roughly 42,000 acres in OR and another 5,000 in California.

President Obama also expanded the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument in southwestern OR and the California Coastal National Monument to protect natural and cultural resources and areas of critical biodiversity, including highly important wildlife habitat.

But civil rights advocates and conservationists applauded Obama's monument designations on Thursday. It also safeguards the 16th Street Baptist Church, which the Ku Klux Klan bombed in 1963 during the height of desegregation.

The Freedom Riders National Monument includes the Greyhound Bus Station where a racially integrated bus of Freedom Riders attempting to test desegregation was attacked in the spring of 1961.

The third site, in Beaufort, South Carolina, honors the time after the Civil War when freed slaves began building their own schools and communities.

The president also designated the first national monument dedicated to Reconstruction, a complicated era of American history meant to reshape the South after the emancipation of 4 million slaves following the Civil War.

The designation protects the historic A.G. Gaston Motel in that city, where the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. and other civil rights leaders had their 1963 campaign headquarters, as well as Kelly Ingram Park, where police turned hoses and dogs on civil rights protesters.

Obama also expanded the existing California Coastal National Monument by 6,230 acres and the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument in OR and California by about 47,000 acres.

Sewell and Bell spent countless hours working to establish the Civil Rights National Monument, which will add another tourist location to downtown Birmingham's growing list of attractions, including Regions Field, the BJCC Legacy Arena, the Uptown entertainment district, and the upcoming Topgolf entertainment venue.

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The president has added a record-breaking number of acres - more than 550 million, including at sea - to America's national monuments.

The white rocks that give the landmark its name are 40 miles north of San Luis Obispo and have been part of Native American culture for at least 3,000 years, according to the proclamation creating the monument Thursday evening.

The new monuments are important to the civil rights movement - the Birmingham Civil Rights National Monument, the Freedom Riders National Monument and the Reconstruction Era National Monument.

Presidents have a history of making major national monument decisions in their final weeks in office. "We've expanded the definition of what's important, and what's nationally important". As Jennifer Schuessler of The New York Times reports, the monument has sustained opposition from organizations like Sons of the Confederate Veterans, but has been celebrated by historians as a much-needed addition to America's national parks.

The National Monument designation will also provide an economic boost in tourism and spur economic development in Birmingham and the State of Alabama.

The move makes Birmingham's Civil Rights District part of the National Park System.

However at least one of the new protected landscapes, the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument, is more controversial. "This thing has been abused by so many presidents", Rosa said.

The monument was established by President Bill Clinton in 2000.


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