Public History > National Park Service

Monumental Effort: Historians and the Creation of the National Monument to Reconstruction

One of President Obama’s last act while in office was to designate a national monument to Reconstruction in Beaufort, South Carolina. The AHA supported this important expansion of the National Park Service system with a letter to the US Secretary of the Interior on November 16, 2016. AHA Today spoke to historians Greg Downs and Kate Masur, whose advocacy was crucial to this effort, about the significance of the designation, the backstory of the monument’s creation, and next steps.

Letter of Support for National Monument to Reconstruction

The AHA Council approved a letter to US Secretary of the Interior, Sally Jewell, requesting a timely recommendation to the White House regarding a National Monument in Beaufort, South Carolina, in recognition of Reconstruction. The proposed monument would be the first in the National Park Service to expressly represent the history of emancipation and Reconstruction. The significant historical events that transpired at Beaufort make it an ideal place to tell this critical story of experimentation, potential transformation, accomplishment, and disappointment.