U.S. House Passes Clay’s African American Civil Rights Network Act
Bill Would Preserve Historic Sites and Help Tell the Real History of the 20th Century Civil Rights Struggle
WASHINGTON, DC – The U.S. House of Representatives has passed H.R. 1927, the African American Civil Rights Network Act of 2017, important new legislation authored by Congressman Wm. Lacy Clay (D) Missouri. The bipartisan act, which was approved with 72 cosponsors from across the nation, including Congressman Jason Smith (R) Missouri; will help preserve, illuminate and tell the still largely untold story of the 20th Century struggle for Civil Rights.
The legislation directs the Secretary of the Interior to identify and create a national network of historic sites, stories, research facilities and educational programs connected to the modern African American civil rights movement.
In remarks on the House floor today, Mr. Clay said in-part;
Our legislation would authorize the National Park Service to establish a program to preserve and protect the memory of the people and places that were significant in the struggle to secure equal rights for African Americans during the 20th century civil rights era between 1939-1968.
Young Americans find it difficult to believe that racial segregation was once considered normal and necessary in some parts of the United States.
I truly believe that the healing potential for this legislation is essential to bringing our nation together.
The historic network that H.R. 1927 would create would offer tremendous educational opportunities by recognizing those brave souls from all walks of life who fought to make the promises enshrined in our constitution finally ring true for every American, regardless of the color of their skin.
Across this great country, precious historic waypoints along the routes of that still largely untold story are at risk of being lost forever.
My hope is that the historic civil rights trails and the programs that will grow from this act will honestly tell the full and sometimes painful story of the struggle for civil rights.
Not just for African Americans, but to foster healing, tolerance and understanding among all Americans.
The struggle for freedom and equality is one of the truly magnificent and heroic episodes of our nation’s history.
And when we are presented with a bipartisan opportunity to embrace the transformative power of the real American story…
We should seize it.”