Faith Leaders Cheer New National Monuments Focused on African American Heritage As Well as Presidential Memorandum on Diversity and Inclusion for U.S. Public Lands and Waters
The Public Lands System Preserves Our Collective Natural, Cultural, and Spiritual Heritage
The Freedom Riders National Monument in Anniston honors Civil Rights Activists who boarded buses there, and were later violently attacked for challenging segregation.
The Birmingham Civil Rights National Monument honors Birmingham for being the epicenter of the American Civil Rights Movement in 1963. The Birmingham monument includes the A.G. Gaston Motel, 16th Street Baptist Church, Kelly Ingram Park, Bethel Baptist Church, the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute, the 4th Avenue Business District, St. Paul United Methodist Church, and the Colored Masonic Temple.
Pastor of 16th Street Baptist Church is the site Pastor of 16th Street Baptist Church Rev. Arthur Price said of the designation: “This national monument will fortify Birmingham’s place in American history and will speak volumes to the place of African Americans in history.”
The Reconstruction Era National Monument in South Carolina is at the site of the Penn Center, which was one of the country's first schools for freed slaves and served as a retreat for Baptist minister and Civil Rights leader Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
The Presidential Memorandum is directed toward federal agencies, instructing them to value diversity and inclusion in their work. The Memorandum includes guidance for broad stakeholder engagement by agencies before they make decisions, as well as to prioritize conservation of places and stories important to under-represented communities.
Creation Justice Ministries Executive Director Shantha Ready Alonso said of the new monument designations and Presidential Memorandum: “The example set by this Administration and the best practices laid out in the Presidential Memorandum have set the bar high for future administrations. It is important to us that the new Trump Administration upholds these monument designations and prioritizes engaging diverse stakeholders. I am grateful to Senators Booker and Bennet, as well as Representatives Grijalva, Chu, Gallego, and Butterfield for championing this Memorandum.”
RELIGIOUS LEADERS CELEBRATE NEW CIVIL RIGHTS MONUMENTS
“Our Church, in the South, is seen as an iconic symbol of freedom and justice, just like the Liberty Bell is seen as a freedom symbol in Philadelphia. Given the tragedies that took place here, people come here to reflect on the sacrifice and service of those who put their lives on the line. 16th Street stands as a symbol to those who galvanized a generation, motivated a movement, and turned the bitter days of Birmingham in better days. The designation has done a tremendous tribute to the city of Birmingham, and a tribute to the people who worked for Civil Rights in the ‘60s. Birmingham has a story to tell about the fight in Civil Rights. This national monument will fortify Birmingham’s place in American history and will speak volumes to the place of African Americans in history.”
Rev. Arthur Price
Pastor, 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama
“I am grateful President Obama is recognizing and seeking to honor the honor the saints and martyrs of the Civil Rights movement by establishing these new National Monuments in Alabama. Our continuing effort to seek justice and equality for all demands that we remember the legacy of those upon whose shoulders we stand. Not only are they worthy of our deepest gratitude, but also our strongest commitment to the goal of living as 'one nation under God, with liberty and justice for all.'”
Rev. John Mobley
Regional Minister, Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in Alabama and Northwest Florida
“These newly declared national monuments will enter the stories of resilience, courage, and faith into our country’s collective memory for generations to come. President Obama has ensured our African American heritage, too, is officially recognized as part of our national identity.”
Rev. Thomas Bowen
Earl L. Harrison Minister of Social Justice, Shiloh Baptist Church in Washington DC & Progressive National Baptist Convention