Heard on the Hill

Terri Sewell Leads Alabama Plan for National Park

Democrat rallies legislation to designate Birmingham civil rights sites

Terri Sewell, seen here in Selma in her district, is hoping Birmingham's Civil Rights District will become a national park. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Rep. Terri A. Sewell, D-Ala., welcomed to Washington a delegation of civic and civil rights leaders from her state as part of a bipartisan proposal to designate Birmingham's Historic Civil Rights District as a national park.  

"A national park designation allows a city like Birmingham to partner with the National Park Service to make sure we can preserve these historical sites," Sewell said at a National Press Club event surrounded by Birmingham's Mayor William A. Bell, City Council President Pro Tempore Jay Roberson and others.  

The designation would include the 16th Street Baptist Church, Kelley Ingram Park, the A.G. Gaston Motel and the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute.  

Sewell's bill is co-sponsored by others in the Alabama House delegation, all Republican. "I just want to say a special thanks to them. ... We know that the history that is in Alabama has been a very painful history, but from that pain, from that painful history, has really spurred a national civil rights, human rights movement," she said.  

There is no Senate companion bill, but she said she would be discussing it with Alabama's two GOP senators, Richard C. Shelby and Jeff Sessions.  

"It's been a long time coming. We're 50-plus years away from the Civil Rights Movement, and what took place ... this is really, really a great day for Birmingham," Roberson said.  

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