Enslaved Voyages Memorial Act
STATEMENT FOR THE RECORD, NATIONAL PARK SERVICE, U.S. DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR, BEFORE THE SENATE ENERGY AND NATURAL RESOURCES COMMITTEE CONCERNING S. 4732 AND H.R. 4009, TO AUTHORIZE THE GEORGETOWN AFRICAN AMERICAN HISTORIC LANDMARK PROJECT AND TOUR TO ESTABLISH A COMMEMORATIVE WORK IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA AND ITS ENVIRONS, AND FOR OTHER PURPOSES.
DECEMBER 1, 2022
Chairman Manchin, Ranking Member Barrasso, and members of the Committee, thank you for the opportunity to provide the Department of the Interior’s views on S. 4732 and H.R. 4009, bills to authorize the Georgetown African American Historic Landmark Project and Tour to establish a commemorative work in the District of Columbia and its environs, and for other purposes.
The Department supports this legislation.
S. 4732 and H.R. 4009 authorize the Georgetown African American Historic Landmark Project and Tour to establish a commemorative work on Federal land in the District of Columbia and its environs to commemorate the enslaved individuals, whose identities may be known or unknown, who endured the Middle Passage. S. 4732 and H.R. 4009 require compliance with the Commemorative Works Act (40 U.S.C. Chapter 89) (CWA) and prohibit Federal funds from being used to establish the memorial.
The impetus for the proposed commemorative work rises from a long and shameful chapter in history during which 12.5 million Africans were kidnapped, transported to the Americas on ships, and enslaved for labor in the Americas.
The National Capital Memorial Advisory Commission (Commission) reviewed the proposal for this memorial during its October 5, 2021, meeting. The Commission’s review was conducted in accordance with the CWA, which states that Congress shall solicit the views of the Commission in considering legislation authorizing commemorative works within the District of Columbia and its environs. During its review, the Commission concluded that the theme of addressing the suffering and trauma endured by individuals who were enslaved and brought against their will across the Atlantic to this country rises to the level of lasting historical significance to the Nation.
Chairman Manchin, this concludes our statement.