On Thursday, President Obama announced that in honor of Martin Luther King Jr. Day, he has designated three civil rights sites in Alabama and South Carolina as national monuments.
This designation gives culturally and historically significant sites protection. The Birmingham Civil Rights National Monument will encompass the A.G. Gaston Motel, at one time the headquarters for King's 1964 civil rights campaign, and the Freedom Riders National Monument in Anniston, Alabama, will include the Greyhound station where a bus with integrated Freedom Riders was attacked in the spring of 1961 and the location where the bus was firebombed minutes later. The Reconstruction Era National Monument in coastal South Carolina will include four sites in Beaufort County, a community developed by free slaves.
Obama also announced the expansion of two existing monuments — the California Coastal National Monument and the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument in southwest Oregon and northern California — in order to protect biodiversity, natural and historic resources, and wildlife habitat.