Congresswoman Terri Sewell (D-AL07) welcomed Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland to Alabama on Wednesday to meet with elected officials and community members and visit Civil Rights Movement sites in Alabama. The visit was part of the Secretary’s week-long multi-state tour to explore how the Department of the Interior can help tell America’s story.

“It was my distinct honor to welcome my dear friend, Interior Secretary Deb Haaland, to Alabama today!” said Sewell. “During Black History Month, we are reminded of the importance of preserving our history. After all, Black History is American History. I’m honored to partner with the National Park Service to ensure that the rich legacy of Alabama’s 7th District is preserved so that future generations can learn from the sacrifices of all those on whose shoulders we stand.”

In Selma, Sewell, Haaland, Assistant Interior Secretary Shannon Estenoz, and Selma Mayor James Perkins visited the Selma Interpretive Center where they met with key community leaders and Foot Soldiers who marched across the Edmund Pettus Bridge in 1965. The Center is part of the Selma-to-Montgomery National Historic Trail, which was established in 1996 as a unit of the National Park System to commemorate the people, events, and route of the 1965 voting rights marches in Alabama.

Last year, Sewell secured $10 million to expand the Selma Interpretive Center in President Biden’s FY2022 budget, which is currently being negotiated in the House and Senate.

In addition to honoring the life and legacy of those who fought for equality, Secretary Haaland also heard about ongoing projects to expand the interpretive facilities of the Selma to Montgomery National Historic Trail.

.@RepTerriSewell This #BlackHistoryMonth, we’re reminded that Black history is American history!

I want to thank the @NatlParkService for partnering with the City of Selma to ensure that future generations can learn from the sacrifices of those whose shoulders we stand on.

— Rep. Terri A. Sewell (@RepTerriSewell) February 16, 2022

Sewell, Haaland, and Estenoz then traveled to Birmingham where they met Mayor Randall Woodfin and visited the Birmingham Civil Rights National Monument. Established in 2017, the National Monument preserves and interprets the events, stories, and places associated with the nonviolent struggle against racial segregation in Birmingham, Alabama, during the mid-20th century.

The group visited various sites contained with the monument, including the historic 16th Street Baptist Church, St. Paul United Methodist Church, and the A.G. Gaston Motel, which served as the headquarters for the Birmingham campaign. The National Park Service has funded nearly $4.7 million to the monument’s sites through the Service’s African American Civil Rights Grant Program for Preservation and Rehabilitation.

Alabama draws thousands of tourists every year to visit Civil Rights Movement sites.

Sewell is in her sixth term representing Alabama’s Seventh Congressional District.

To connect with the author of this story, or to comment, email