Trump declares his first national monument: It honors black soldiers who fought in Civil War

Trump declares his first national monument: It honors black soldiers who fought in Civil War
Augustus Saint-Gaudens. Detail of Robert Gould Shaw Memorial, Boston Common (Image: Wikipedia)

[Ed. – Obama wishes he had thought of that.]

President Donald Trump on Friday used his executive powers for the first time to designate a national monument, establishing a 380-acre site in Kentucky to honor African-Americans’ role as soldiers during the Civil War.

The move won praise from local activists and conservationists but also criticism from several environmental groups, which noted Trump had used this same authority under the 1906 Antiquities Act last year to downsize two existing national monuments in Utah.

Republicans had pushed for more than a year to establish a national monument at Camp Nelson in Nicholasville, Ky., which served as one of the largest recruitment and training depots for United States Colored Troops. While Kentucky was the last state in the Union to allow the enlistment of African-American men, the camp sent 23,000 of the roughly 180,000 black troops who fought on the Union’s side during the Civil War.

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“During the war, thousands of enslaved African Americans risked their lives escaping to Camp Nelson, out of a deep desire for freedom and the right of self-determination,” Trump declared in the proclamation he signed Friday.

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