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U.S. Sec. of the Interior Sally Jewell announced Wednesday the designation of 24 new National Historic Landmarks that "possess exceptional value or quality in illustrating or interpreting the heritage of the U.S." More than 2,500 historic places bear this national distinction.
"These 24 new designations depict different threads of the American story that have been told through activism, architecture, music and religious observance," said Sec. Jewell. "Their designation ensures future generations have the ability to learn from the past as we preserve and protect the historic value of these properties."
The Sierra Club praised these new designations. "Public lands are the embodiment of our democracy," Sierra Club's Executive Director Michael Brune said. "They belong to us all and are places where everyone should feel welcome. President Obama's memorandum on diversity will help ensure these special places will better serve the diversity and interests of the public."
The New York State Barge Canal was built explicitly to counter the growing monopoly of railroad corporations over the American economy.
Here's a list of the 24 new national historic landmarks:
• The assassination of Medgar Evers on June 12, 1963, in the carport of the Medgar and Myrlie Evers House in Jackson, Mississippi, became one of the catalysts for the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. His assassination also forced Myrlie Evers into a more prominent role for the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). Both Medgar and Myrlie were major contributors to advancing the goals of the civil rights movement on a national level. Medgar Evers was the first nationally significant civil rights leader to be murdered.
• The Wyandotte National Burying Ground (Eliza Burton Conley Burial Site) in Kansas City, Kansas, serves as tangible evidence of the consequences of federal American Indian removal policy to a tribal population and its identity during the nineteenth century. The property is also associated with Eliza (Lyda) Burton Conley who was the first attorney to raise the legal argument that American Indian burying grounds are entitled to protection by the Federal Government and to claim that the descendants of treaty signatories have the right to sue to enforce treaty provisions.
• The Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture in New York City represents the idea of the African Diaspora, a revolutionizing model for studying the history and culture of people of African descent that used a global, transnational perspective. The idea and the person who promoted it, Arthur (Arturo) Alfonso Schomburg (1874-1938), an Afro-Latino immigrant and self-taught bibliophile, reflect the multicultural experience of America and the ideals that all Americans should have intellectual freedom and social equality.
• As one of the three New Deal greenbelt towns built by the Federal Government, the Greenhills Historic District in Greenhills, Ohio, shaped the federal response to the Great Depression and represents highly important aspects of New Deal policy, an important period in the evolution of the American suburb. The village is an outstanding representation of the American Garden City movement and a nationally significant historic residential suburb.
• On April 20, 1970, community residents occupied Chicano Park in San Diego, California, in an ultimately successful effort to prevent the construction of a California Highway Patrol substation on land where the City of San Diego had promised the neighborhood a community park. Representative of the Chicano Civil Rights Movement, Chicano Park has become a cultural and recreational gathering place for the Chicano community and is the location of the Chicano Park Monumental Murals, an exceptional assemblage of master mural artwork painted on the freeway bridge supports.
• Casa José Antonio Navarro in San Antonio, Texas, was the home of Tejano statesman and historian José Antonio Navarro (1795-1871), a political leader whose prolific career as statesman and defender of Tejano rights shaped the destiny of Texas as an independent Republic and as part of the United States of America. His commitments to both American ideals and to the rights of Texan Mexican Americans make him one of the leading figures of the American Southwest under three sovereignties.
• The Neutra Studio and Residences (VDL Research House) in Los Angeles, California, is associated with Richard Neutra, a nationally and internationally seminal figure of the twentieth century Modern movement in architecture. During the 1940s, as Neutra's work evolved, he also became the well-recognized founder of mid-century "California Modern" architecture. The VDL Research House is the only property where one can see the progression of his style over a period of years and is among the key properties to understanding the national significance of Richard Neutra.
• The Keim Homestead in Oley, Pennsylvania, is an exceptionally intact example of early German American domestic vernacular architecture. Constructed ca. 1753, the main house and the ancillary building (which served in effect as an extension of the main dwelling under a separate roof), together represent methods of construction, elements of architectural decoration, and patterns of dwelling and domestic outbuilding layout and design that were characteristic of the German American tradition of the mid-eighteenth century.