MIL-OSI USA: Ahead of Department of Interior Community Meeting, Duckworth Reiterates Support for Springfield 1908 Race Riot National Monument Site

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US Senate News:

Source: United States Senator for Illinois Tammy Duckworth

June 10, 2024

[WASHINGTON, D.C.] – In advance of this evening’s U.S. Department of the Interior community meeting in Springfield, Duckworth—author of the Springfield 1908 Race Riot National Monument Act—reiterated her longtime support and work in designating the sites of the 1908 Race Riot as a national monument. Tonight’s community meeting is an opportunity for the Biden Administration to hear directly about the community’s vision to commemorate the Springfield Race Riot of 1908 and the role it played in the nation’s history.

“The 1908 Springfield Race Riot site is of extraordinary cultural and historical importance to our state and to this country—a searing, horrific incident that galvanized the creation of the NAACP,” Duckworth said. “By designating this area a national monument, we will help ensure that the painful lessons learned here will not be lost for the generations of Americans to come. Making our national parks better reflect our nation’s people and history is long overdue, and it’s time we properly recognize this site and the lives that were lost here. I’m pleased to see the Biden Administration’s commitment to the community and gathering input today, and I hope to see its status as a national monument made official.”

Duckworth and Durbin re-introduced the Springfield 1908 Race Riot National Monument Act last year, which was reported favorably out of committee in September. Senator Duckworth first introduced this bill in 2019 and has made it a priority to bring attention to and designate this place as a national site. During the 1908 Race Riots, a mob of white residents murdered at least six Black Americans, burned Black homes and businesses and attacked hundreds of residents for no other reason than the color of their skin. In the aftermath of the riot, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) was formed.

Earlier this year the National Park Service released its Special Resource Study for the proposed national monument site stating that this site met all the necessary criteria, and the National Park service testified favorably for the legislation in a hearing earlier this year, taking the rare step in declaring the Biden Administration’s strong support for Congress passing the legislation.

Last year, after continued efforts from Duckworth, the Biden Administration designated the church that held Emmett Till’s pivotal open-casket wake in Chicago’s Bronzeville neighborhood as a national monument. Duckworth’s leadership was critical in the site designation, originally introducing the Emmett Till and Mamie Till-Mobley, and Roberts Temple National Historic Site Act in 2021 and again in 2023.

Tonight’s will be attended by Chair of the White House Council on Environmental Quality Brenda Mallory and Assistant Secretary of the Interior for Fish and Wildlife and Parks Shannon Estenoz.

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