America’s Great Outdoors Tumblr updates

01/12/2017 06:36 PM EST

Martin Luther King, Jr. outside Gaston Motel in 1963.

Freedom Rider bus firebombed outside Anniston

Unidentified man sits in front of Freedom Rider bus to prevent it from leaving the station

Freedom Rider mural near Greyhound Station in Anniston, Alabama

Brick Church, which is part of the Reconstruction Era National Monument

The Camp Saxton Site will be part of the Reconstruction Era National Monument

Yesterday President Obama designated three new national monuments honoring our country’s civil rights history. The new monuments will protect historic sites in Alabama and South Carolina that played an important role in American history stretching from the Civil War to the civil rights movement. President Obama also expanded the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument in southwestern Oregon and Northern California, and added six new units to the California Coastal National Monument – protecting critical biodiversity, important cultural resources and vital wildlife habitat. Learn more:

Birmingham Civil Rights National Monument
In 1963, Birmingham was the epicenter of the American Civil Rights Movement. Activists like Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Rev. Fred Shuttlesworth, Rev. Ralph Abernathy, Sr., and countless unnamed heroes gathered there to demand equality for all people. The activists planned nonviolent marches and protests for Project C (for Confrontation), or the Birmingham campaign.

The new Birmingham Civil Rights National Monument includes the A.G. Gaston Motel, the headquarters for Project C. Dr. King and his colleagues announced the negotiated resolution of the campaign in the motel courtyard on May 10, 1963. Hours later, a bomb exploded near the suite where Dr. King had stayed.

Freedom Riders National Monument
On Mother’s Day 1961, a Freedom Riders bus was attacked at the Greyhound Bus Station in Anniston, Alabama. The Freedom Riders remained on board the bus at the station while a mob struck it with bats and pipes and slashed the bus tires. As the bus moved away from the station and out of town, the mob, including members of the Ku Klux Klan, followed. When the bus broke down six miles outside of Anniston on Route 202, the mob resumed terrorizing the Freedom Riders. The bus was firebombed and members of the mob tried holding the doors shut to trap the Freedom Riders inside. Eventually the Freedom Riders were able to make it off the burning bus but continued to be harassed until Alabama State Troopers dispersed the crowd.

The Freedom Riders were a group of civil rights activists, both African American and Caucasian, who tested integration laws on the interstate bus system. The Freedom Riders National Monument includes the former Greyhound Bus Station in Anniston and the bus burning site in Calhoun County.

Reconstruction Era National Monument
The Reconstruction Era began during the Civil War and lasted until the dawn of Jim Crow racial segregation in the 1890s. It remains one of the most complicated and poorly understood periods in American History. During Reconstruction, four million African Americans, newly freed from bondage, sought to integrate themselves into free society, struggling to find their place in the educational, economic and political life of the country.

The new Reconstruction Era National Monument includes four sites in South Carolina’s Beaufort County.


Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument
Located in southwestern Oregon and established in 2000, Cascade-Siskiyou was the first monument designated solely for the preservation of its biodiversity. The monument is an ecological wonder, home to an incredible variety of rare and endemic plant and animal species, and representing a rich mosaic of forests, grasslands, shrub lands, and wet meadows at the convergence of three mountain ranges. Today’s expansion builds upon the original monument’s goal to protect the area’s extraordinary biodiversity. Photo by @mypubliclands.


California Coastal National Monument
Established in 2000 to protect marine wildlife habitat just offshore of California’s iconic coastline, California Coastal National Monument was expanded in 2014 to include Point Arena-Stornetta – its first onshore unit. Today’s expansion of 6 spectacular places along the coast will preserve important habitat for coastal plants and animals, and protect cultural sites that provide insight into the people who lived along the California coast thousands of years ago. Many of the new sites of the monument are also culturally and spiritually important to local tribes. Photo by @mypubliclands.

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