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November 01, 2011

President Obama designates a national monument for the first time

President Obama signed a proclamation today that designates Fort Monroe in Virginia as a national monument.

As a White House press release notes "Fort Monroe was the site of General Benjamin Butler’s “Contraband Decision” in 1861, which provided a pathway to freedom for thousands of enslaved people during the Civil War and served as a forerunner of President Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation of 1863."

This is the first time Obama has used his authority under the Antiquities Act to create a national monument. Fourteen presidents have designated national monuments to protect places of natural beauty or historical importance.

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