Elaine Luria advocates for Fort Monroe before House Natural Resources Committee

Elaine LuriaCongresswoman Elaine Luria, D-Va., testified Monday before the House Natural Resources Committee’s Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests, and Public Lands in support of her bipartisan bill, the Fort Monroe National Monument Land Acquisition Act (H.R. 4345).

This bill would direct the National Park Service to accept a section of land in order to connect two non-contiguous sections of Fort Monroe and create a unified national park to preserve and protect the rich history of Fort Monroe.

“From the site of the arrival of the first enslaved Africans in America to its role as the “freedom fortress” during the Civil War, Fort Monroe is an integral part of our nation’s history,” said Luria. “We must remember the events that occurred at Fort Monroe so we can inform a brighter and more equitable future. My bill will help us better maintain this National Monument so that we can keep Fort Monroe’s rich history accessible to all Americans.”

Click here to view footage of Luria’s testimony.

Virginia State Sen. Mamie Locke (VA-SD-02) also testified in support of H.R. 4345. Click here to view her testimony in support of the Fort Monroe National Monument Land Acquisition Act.

Locke represents Fort Monroe in the General Assembly and serves on the Board of Trustees for the Fort Monroe Authority.

In September, Luria introduced the Fort Monroe National Monument Land Acquisition Act. Currently, 40 acres of coastal land separates two important parts of Fort Monroe. This bill would require the Secretary of the Interior to work with the Commonwealth to unify the two divided sections and manage several non-historic buildings on the land. It would ensure that the National Park Service can better coordinate the maintenance and development of educational opportunities on this historic site.

In 1619, the first enslaved Africans landed at Point Comfort, which is modern-day Fort Monroe. Nearly 250 years later, during the Civil War, Fort Monroe became known as the “freedom fortress” for slaves escaping the Confederacy. Fort Monroe was designated as a National Historic Landmark in 1960, and as a National Monument in 2011.

Luria has been a vocal proponent of preserving public lands. Recently, she cosponsored the Great American Outdoors Act, which would permanently fund the Land and Water Conservation Fund and create a National Parks and Public Land Legacy Restoration Fund.

In Coastal Virginia, LWCF supports projects, such as the Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge, the Eastern Shore National Wildlife Refuge, and Virginia battlefields in Yorktown.



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