JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — The Mississippi home of a slain civil rights leader is one step closer to becoming a national monument.
The U.S. House voted Tuesday to pass a bill that would establish the Medgar Evers National Monument in Jackson. The Senate must still vote on the measure filed by Democratic Rep. Bennie Thompson of Mississippi.
As Mississippi’s first NAACP field secretary, beginning in 1954, Evers organized protests and boycotts to fight segregation. He was assassinated by a white supremacist outside his family’s Jackson home in 1963.
If the modest ranch-style home becomes a national monument, the federal government will take it over from Tougaloo College, bringing more money for preservation. The college supports the change.
Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke recommended in September that the Evers home become a national monument.
The federal Antiquities Act gives the president wide authority to designate national monuments to protect federal sites considered historic or geographically or culturally significant. Monuments also can be designated by Congress. President Trump has ordered reductions to several large national monuments in the West, calling them part of a “massive land grab” by Barack Obama and other presidents.
The chairman of the House Natural Resources Committee, Republican Rep. Rob Bishop of Utah, said on the House floor Tuesday that the proper way to create monuments is by legislative action.
“I expect this to become a reality and I expect this to be an illustration of how Congress should be creating national monuments going forward in the future,” Bishop said of the Evers home.
Making the Evers home a national monument is widely supported by Republicans and Democrats.