Obama’s Vision

National parks, monuments, memorials and preserves designated during the Obama administration that have cultural relevance to communities of color and other marginalized groups. This list does not include dozens of national historic landmarks. (Click on park name for website, more details).

Birmingham Civil Rights (Alabama), 2017: Sites of turning points in civil rights movement and American history.

Freedom Riders National Monument (Alabama), 2017: Civil rights, site of firebombed bus containing interracial group of young people challenging segregation in public housing in the South.

Reconstruction Era National Monument (South Carolina), 2017: Heart of Gullah culture (freed Western African slaves), first school for freed slaves, retreat for civil-rights leaders such as Martin Luther King Jr.

Harriet Tubman National Historical Park (New York), 2017: Celebrating the later life of former slave, leading African American abolitionist and civil rights activist.

Gold Butte National Monument (Nevada), 2016: Native archeological sites and settlements.

Bears Ears National Monument (Utah), 2016: Sacred tribal land, jointly managed by tribes.

Stonewall National Monument (New York), 2016: Turning point of LGBTQ rights movement.

Belmont-Paul Women’s Equality National Monument (DC), 2016: Women’s suffrage and equal rights.

Mojave Trails National Monument (California), 2016: American Indian trading routes.

Castle Mountains National Monument (California), 2016: Sacred tribal lands and archeological sites.

Chimney Rock National Monument (Colorado), 2016: Ancestral Puebloan site.

Berryessa Snow Mountain National Monument (California), 2015: Sacred tribal lands.

Honouliuli National Monument (Hawaii), 2015: Japanese American imprisonment during WWII.

Pullman National Monument (Illinois), 2015: African American nexus of labor and civil rights.

San Gabriel Mountains National Monument (California), 2014: Traditional recreational access for Latinos.

Valles Caldera National Preserve (New Mexico), 2014: Traditional ethnographic landscape for Native Americans and Latinos.

Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument (New Mexico), 2014: Native settlements and petroglyphs.

*Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad National Historical Park (Maryland), 2014: Former slave, leading African American abolitionist and civil rights activist.

Charles Young Buffalo Soldiers National Monument (Ohio), 2013: First African-American national park superintendent, black-only military units.

Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad National Monument (Maryland), 2013: Former slave, leading African American abolitionist and civil rights activist.

Rio Grande del Norte National Monument (New Mexico), 2013: Latino and Native heritage.

San Juan Islands National Monument (Washington), 2013: Archeological sites of Coast Salish.

César E. Chåvez National Monument (California), 2012: Latino leader, nexus of labor and civil rights.

Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial (DC), 2011: Civil Rights leader and movement.

Port Chicago Naval Magazine National Memorial (California), 2009: Deadly munitions disaster involving segregated African-American Naval units.

*redesignation

  1. […] It started with Port Chicago, César Chávez and the Buffalo Soldiers. It marched on with names like Pullman and Belmont-Paul, in places such as Honouliuli, and with landscapes known to the locals as Organ Mountains, Valles Caldera and Rio Grande del Norte. Missing pages of history, silenced voices, and stories left untold are now integrated into our collective memory, embodied in our public lands and monuments. The Antiquities Act of 1906, in rather mechanical terms is meant to protect “historic landmarks, historic and prehistoric structures… that are situated upon the lands owned or controlled by the Government of the United States.” Signed into law by Theodore Roosevelt in response to increased looting of artifacts in places like Chaco Canyon, NM, it gives the President direct authority to set aside public lands for “the protection of objects of historic and scientific interest.” Thanks to a President with an eye on the possibility of history and an understanding of his own place in it, President Obama will step down on January 20, 2017, having invoked the Antiquities Act more than any other President to create and expand 34 monuments (two more than Franklin D. Roosevelt), and protect more of our lands and waters than any of his predecessors — more than 265 million acres. Pointedly though, he deliberately deployed the Antiquities Act to “recognize key advances in the fight for a more inclusive American society” by creating 25 national parks, monuments and preserves that have cultural relevance to marginalized groups. […]

  2. […] It started with Port Chicago, César Chávez and the Buffalo Soldiers. It marched on with names like Pullman and Belmont-Paul, in places such as Honouliuli, and with landscapes known to the locals as Organ Mountains and Rio Grande del Norte. Missing pages of history, silenced voices, and stories left untold are now integrated into our collective memory, embodied in our public lands and monuments. The Antiquities Act of 1906, in rather mechanical terms is meant to protect “historic landmarks, historic and prehistoric structures… that are situated upon the lands owned or controlled by the Government of the United States.” Signed into law by Theodore Roosevelt in response to increased looting of artifacts in places like Chaco Canyon, NM, it gives the President direct authority to set aside public lands for “the protection of objects of historic and scientific interest.” Thanks to a President with an eye on the possibility of history and an understanding of his own place in it, President Obama will step down on January 20, 2017, having invoked the Antiquities Act more than any other President to create and expand 34 monuments (two more than Franklin D. Roosevelt), and protect more of our lands and waters than any of his predecessors — more than 265 million acres. Pointedly though, he deliberately deployed the Antiquities Act to “recognize key advances in the fight for a more inclusive American society” by creating 25 national parks, monuments and preserves that have cultural relevance to marginalized groups. […]

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