As one of his last acts as POTUS — still so hard to say! — Obama designated a series of landmarks as the Birmingham Civil Rights National Monument (Sojourners has the story).
Those places include the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church, where four young girls were killed in a 1963 act of terror by the Klu Klux Klan.
The Birmingham monument is one in a series of civil rights sites now recognized by the Department of the Interior. But I’m highlighting this one because it is the most personal. I have deep family roots in Alabama, and close relations still there. Many are Trump supporters, and that perhaps as much as anything is at the heart of my search for hope and reconciliation, even when I feel afraid (which, if I let myself, is a lot lately. Is the press corps really getting kicked out of the White House?).
For today, I’ll stick with the wish that maybe Birmingham’s path through history can remind us that what looks very dark now is neither permanent nor inevitable.
“African-American history is American history, and these monuments are testament to the people and places on the front-lines of our entire nation’s march toward a more perfect union,” said Interior Secretary Sally Jewell.