Civil Rights district declared a national monument, Mayor Bell announces

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — Mayor William Bell and civil rights activists celebrated the announcement that the city’s civil rights district was named as a national monument at the 16th Street Baptist Church

The city is getting about $1,000,000 in grants to preserve civil rights landmarks.

The 16th Street Baptist Church, Birmingham Civil Rights Institute, A.G. Gaston motel, Kelly Ingram Park and 4th Avenue business district will all be part of the Civil Rights National Monument.

This project has been years in the making, and national monument designation commits federal money to maintain these landmarks for years to come.

“Were it not for the struggles here in Birmingham, none of us would be where we are on this day, including the President of the United States of America,” Bell said, surrounded by members of the clergy, city leaders, even a survivor of the 16th Street Baptist Church bombing. “I wish my mom was here. I wish so many other people who have gone on could see this day.”

As a result of the designation, Bell expects tourism to double or triple in the future.

The monument designation was part of a $7.5 million initiative by the National Parks Service to preserve 39 important civil rights landmarks across 20 states.

$496,375 was also designated to establish an Anniston Freedom Riders Monument.

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