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Reconstruction Monuments

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In the next month, expect Barack Obama to make significant expansions to the National Park Service through naming National Monuments. There is some risk here given the extremists taking power and some strong belief among western Republicans that Trump should eliminate many of the recent monuments. But Obama naming the Bears Ears as a monument probably isn’t going to make much difference either way and being reticent in the face of extremism is never a good idea.

Obama will also name a number of historically based National Monuments. These are likely to come in two areas. First, there’s a lot of momentum to create monuments in Birmingham and Anniston, Alabama to commemorate key moments in the civil rights movement. Second, he’s likely to create a monument in South Carolina to recognize Reconstruction, which amazingly still does not have a site in the National Park Service specifically dedicated to it. Given the coming rollback of voting rights for black people under the Trump administration (an amazing statement on the face of it until you remember just how racist this nation is), creating a place of public remembrance for a previous period when black rights were expressed and then repressed, is really important.

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