New National Monuments Buffalo Soldiers, Underground Railroad

Posted: March 26th, 2013

President Obama, who was criticized in his first term for favoring oil and gas development over land conservation, [has] designate[d] five new national monuments . . . .

They are . . . the Charles Young Buffalo Soldiers National Monument in Ohio[,] a monument commemorating Harriet Tubman and the Underground Railroad in Maryland[, the First State National Monument in Delaware and Pennsylvania, the Rio Grande del Norte National Monument in New Mexico, [and] the San Juan Islands National Monument in Washington State[.]

Young [was] the third African-American to graduate from West Point and the first to attain the rank of colonel. . . .

The last Congress was the first in more than 60 years that did not set aside any lands for protection as a national park, monument or wilderness area. . . .

Mr. Obama is designating the monuments using his power under the Antiquities Act, the 1906 law that allows presidents to set aside important natural, cultural and historical sites for permanent protection. . . .

The president can designate either a national park or a monument under the Antiquities Act. The difference is largely the purpose for which the tract is set aside: a park is a large piece of land reserved for scenic or recreational purposes, while a monument can be an area of any size reserved because of historical, archaeological or scientific value.

Mr. Obama created four monuments under the act in his first term: the César E. Chávez National Monument in California, the Fort Monroe National Monument in Virginia, the Fort Ord National Monument in California and the Chimney Rock National Monument in the San Juan National Forest in southwestern Colorado.

Read the rest of this story in the New York Times . . .

The César Chávez monument was the first national monument to honor a Latino born later than the 1700′s, according to the National Park Service.

“Less than 3% of all the national landmarks that we have — the highest designation you can receive as a historic landmark — are designated for women, Latinos, African Americans or other members of minority groups,” according to Interior Secretary Ken Salazar.

The City Project advocates for monuments that reflect diversity, democracy, and freedom.