The House was busy making 250% sure that “In God We Trust” is still the national motto when President Obama yesterday dedicated Fort Monroe as his first national monument under the Antiquities Act powers.
“This is one of the most important and powerful historic places in America, the spot where slavery began and also, two and a half centuries later, received its deathblow,” said Adam Goodheart, author of “1861: The Civil War Awakening.” “It is the Plymouth Rock of African-American culture. I am thrilled it will be preserved and honored.”
Slaves were able to find safe haven at what was then called Fortress Monroe 150 years ago, during the Civil War, when it was controlled by Union forces. Historian Blair L.M. Kelley remarked upon it in theGrio:
“I’d say it’s crucial to the process of remembering American history from the whole cloth…It’s a site that allows Americans to recall both the terrible shift toward slavery, and then African American resistance at one site. This enriches our memory of who we are as a nation, both how far we have come and that we can never forget.”
Sounds like a worthy candidate for the nation’s newest monument. So what about this, exactly, could House Speaker John Boehner’s office find so funny? The notion that jobs could be created from designating a former Army fort as a national monument. Speaker Boehner’s office laughed about the notion that it’d create even one job:
“The practical effect is to tell Americans they’ve fully exhausted ways for the president to act without engaging Congress,” Boehner spokesman Brendan Buck said. “It tanks on the straight face test to suggest this action is going to put Americans back to work.”