Obama names 3 national civil rights monuments

WASHINGTON (AP) – The Obama administration is designating three new national monuments honoring civil rights history as it commemorates next week’s Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

They are the Birmingham Civil Rights National Monument in Alabama, the Freedom Riders National Monument in Anniston, Alabama, and the Reconstruction Era National Monument in South Carolina.

A White House statement issued Thursday says the president “is taking new steps to promote diversity and inclusivity” in the nation’s system of national parks, national forests, monuments and other public lands and waters.

The White House says protection for the newly named national monuments will be strongly supported by the local communities, elected officials and a wide variety of stakeholders including civil rights organizations, environmental justice groups and historic preservation groups.

(Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

12:22 p.m.

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) – A motel room once used by Martin Luther King Jr. to plan landmark civil rights protests is the centerpiece of a new national monument in Alabama.

President Obama signed an order creating the Birmingham Civil Rights National Monument in one of his final acts in office. The announcement Thursday coincides with the upcoming King holiday.

In 1963, King stayed at the A.G. Gaston Motel while planning protests against legalized segregation in Birmingham. King worked with aides in an upstairs suite known as the “war room.”

The motel was a home-away-from-home for blacks in the segregated South at the time; today it is abandoned and the room is gutted.

The site will be restored as part of a more than $10 million project. Park rangers will help explain the area’s history.

(Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

 

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