Obama adds 3 civil rights sites to national monuments legacy

Birmingham's civil rights sites have been designated as a national monument instead of a national park through Obama's use of authority through the Antiquities Act of 1906. The sites include a church in Alabama where four young black girls were killed by a bomb, a Freedom Riders monument in Alabama and a former school for freed slaves in South Carolina, USA Today reported.

The Reconstruction Era National Monument in SC includes four sites in Beaufort County to tell the story of emancipated slaves forming a community - built homes and set up churches, schools and businesses as free people - after the Union Army took it over in 1861.

Obama said in a statement that the monuments are meant to preserve critical chapters in our nation's history "from the Civil War to the civil rights movement". The first is a section of downtown Birmingham that includes the 16th Street Baptist Church, which the KKK bombed in 1963, and the A.G. Gaston Motel, where Martin Luther King Jr. organized protests in the same year, reports the Associated Press. "Daines for his strong support of the Improved National Monument Designation Process Act", said Bryan Mussard, the president of the Montana Stockgrowers Association, which supports cattle-ranching families.

Almost every president has used the law since it was first signed by President Theodore Roosevelt to establish new national monuments, and many eventually were upgraded by Congress to become national parks.

The third new monument will be located in the Sea Islands of SC, comprising four sites in Beaufort Country dating to the Reconstruction Era.

President Barack Obama has signed a presidential proclamation designating the Birmingham Civil Rights National Monument. Day observances and eight days before Obama completes his second term as president. Those monuments include ones to Latino farmworkers in California; Japanese Americans placed in internment camps in Hawaii; gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender rioters at New York City's Stonewall Inn; a stop along the Underground Railroad in Maryland; and ancestral Pueblo sites in Colorado and Utah. "It is important to us that the new Trump administration upholds these monument designations and prioritizes engaging diverse stakeholders".

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Gold Butte is home to thousands of Native American petroglyphs, but it also contains historic mining- and pioneer-era artifacts; rare and threatened wildlife such as the Mojave desert tortoise and desert bighorn sheep; dramatic rock formations; and fossil track-sites dating back 170 to 180 million years ago.

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. They will now be overseen by the National Park Service, and become eligible for federal support.

However at least one of the new protected landscapes, the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument, is more controversial.

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

"We were hoping the president would take this action", said Ed Almanza, member of the board of the Laguna Ocean Foundation, a nonprofit conservation group.

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