Southern Courthouses Named Landmarks

(CN) – Historic courthouses in New Orleans, Atlanta and Montgomery, Ala. have been named national landmarks, the National Park Service announced this week.
     The three buildings were an integral part of the civil rights movement, according to an NPS press release. Each courthouse belongs to the Fifth Circuit, which had jurisdiction in six Southeastern states and shaped the movement.
     The new historic landmarks are the John Minor Wisdom U.S. Court of Appeals building in New Orleans, Atlanta’s Elbert Parr Tuttle U.S. Court of Appeals building and Montgomery’s Frank M. Johnson, Jr. Federal Building and U.S. Courthouse.
     The Johnson building saw a 1956 ruling in the Montgomery bus boycott case and also was home to school desegregation rulings in the 1960s, according to NPS. The Atlanta courthouse was the site of a landmark desegregation decision in 1966’s U.S. vs. Jefferson ruling, while the New Orleans building also presided over desegregation rulings as well as early voting rights judgments.
     “In an era of significant resistance to racial equality, these monumental rulings defined civil rights laws, formed the basis of congressional civil rights legislation, and pioneered judicial reform,” NPS Director Jonathan Jarvis said in a statement. “These decisions are relevant to the study of Civil War to civil rights as well as modern conversations regarding civil rights, diversity, and inclusiveness.”
     Norman Dong, U.S. General Services Administration public buildings services commissioner, said the three buildings represent important change in the country’s history.
     “The historic Fifth Circuit courthouses stand at the cornerstone of change that revolutionized our country. The National Historic Landmark designation provides a unique platform from which these buildings and their sacred stories will inspire the American people for generations to come,” Dong said.

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