With little more than a month left in President Obama’s presidency, the Anniston Star, yesterday wrote a powerful editorial supporting the designation of a Freedom Riders National Monument.
Last October’s visit by Secretary of Interior Sally Jewell to the Freedom Riders sites was an important moment in Alabama history. The Star’s conclusion in the December 13th editorial, best describes why designating Freedom Riders National Monument is important to Anniston, Alabama and the entire nation.
Read about Freedom Rider Charles Person and his remarkable story – here.
Support for the proposed Freedom Riders National Park in Anniston received a big boost today in the opinion section of al.com with an essay by prominent National Park advocate and conservationist Frank Peterman.
Below – excerpts from the speech today by Hank Thomas, Freedom Rider and survivor of the Anniston Bus Burning.
The speech was given after a tour of the proposed Freedom Riders Park. The tour was part of a visit by Secretary of Interior Sally Jewell who later held a public hearing in downtown Anniston to consider a proposal to designate sites around Anniston as a National Park.
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Our top story today and for the coming week is the announcement that Interior Secretary Sally Jewell will be visiting Anniston and Birmingham to hold public hearings on whether to recommend to President Obama several civil rights sites for National Monument designations.
In Birmingham, the proposed park would include landmark sites such as the 16th Street Baptist Church, where in September 1963, four little girls were murdered by a bomb planted by the Ku Klux Klan. Also included in the proposal, the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute, which houses archives and exhibits documenting the events of the city’s past, and various other historic sites within the civil rights district.
In Anniston, the proposed National Monument designation will focus on sites where the Greyhound bus carrying the Freedom Riders in 1961 were ambushed in downtown Anniston, and outside town where there was an attack on the Freedom Riders and the bus burning that shook a nation took place.