Duckworth, Durbin Legislation Receive Positive Testimony at Senate Hearing
Bills to designate Emmett Till’s funeral site and 1908 Race Riot Site as national monuments move closer to becoming law
[WASHINGTON, D.C.] – U.S. Senators Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) and Dick Durbin (D-IL) today commended the U.S. Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources for holding a hearing on two of their bills, the 1908 Springfield Race Riot National Monument Act and the Emmett Till and Mamie Till-Mobley, and Roberts Temple National Historic Site Act. Today’s hearing brings these pieces of legislation closer to becoming law and preserving two critically important moments in American history as national monuments or national historic sites to be managed by the U.S. National Park Service. Video from today’s hearing can be found here.
“We are pleased both the 1908 Springfield Race Riot National Monument Act and the Emmett Till and Mamie Till-Mobley, and Roberts Temple National Historic Site Act moved closer to becoming law today because it means we are one step closer to protecting and preserving these critical historic sites,” the Senators said. “We have been dedicated to preserving these important parts of our state and nation’s history and are committed to seeing the process through. Commemorating these locations and stories of extraordinary cultural and historical importance is long overdue, and we look forward to bringing these bills to a vote in the Senate soon.”
In today’s hearing, the National Park Service testified favorably for the 1908 Springfield Race Riot National Monument Act and took the rare step in declaring the Biden Administration’s strong support for Congress passing the legislation.
“The Department strongly supports S. 384 …[and]… looks forward to working with the Committee to add the important story of the Springfield 1908 Race Riot to the assemblage of sites that the NPS administers,” said Michael A. Caldwell, National Park Service Associate Director For Park Planning, Facilities and Lands.
Earlier this year Duckworth and Durbin re-introduced the Emmett Till and Mamie Till-Mobley, and Roberts Temple National Historic Site Act, bipartisan legislation to designate the church that held Emmett Till’s pivotal open-casket wake in Chicago’s Bronzeville neighborhood as a national monument. This bill would establish the church as a national monument to be managed by the U.S. National Park Service to ensure that the historic church will be preserved and continue to tell Emmett and Mamie’s critically important story as part of American history.
Duckworth and Durbin also re-introduced the Springfield 1908 Race Riot National Monument Act this year, legislation to designate the site as a national monument. During the 1908 Race Riots, a mob of white residents murdered at least six Black Americans, burned Black homes and businesses and attacked hundreds of residents for no other reason than the color of their skin. In the aftermath of the riot, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) was formed. Last week the National Park Service released its Special Resource Study for the proposed national monument site stating that this site met all the necessary criteria.
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