Illinois has a new addition to the National Park Service. The Pullman Historic District in Chicago is now a national monument, thanks to a designation by President Obama. The president visited the site Thursday afternoon for a ceremony celebrating the designation. This was the site of the 1894 Pullman Strike and later the founding of the country’s first all-African-American labor union, Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters.
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Obama says those fights for justice in labor and civil rights make Pullman a worthy addition to the national parks. “Dignity and opportunity aren’t just gifts to be handed down by a generous government or by a generous employer. They are rights given by God,” Obama said, “as undeniable and worth protecting as the Grand Canyon or the Great Smoky Mountains.”
Some buildings in the district, such as the old Pullman administration building, are in need of repairs. Since the designation was announced, about $8 million in donations have poured in to bring Pullman up to the level of other national monuments.