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Mall site pushed for memorial to Revolutionary War blacks

A monument honoring blacks who contributed to the American Revolution could go on the National Mall in Washington, DC under a resolution moving through Congress. Legislation authorizing a memorial in Washington to the more than 5,000 slaves and free black persons who fought in or otherwise contributed to the Revolutionary War effort has already been approved by Congress and signed into law but a location has not been chosen.

A resolution allowing the National Liberty Memorial to go in the area 1 section of the mall was introduced in the Senate and first became available online on the congressional website on Wednesday, Aug. 6.

Sen. Christopher Murphy (D-Conn.) introduced S. J. Res. 41, which would allow the monument in the area. Current law restricts monuments that can go there and requires approval of the National Capital Memorial Advisory Commission. The resolution was referred to the Committee on Energy & Natural Resources. Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) cosponsored the resolution.

The House Committee on Natural Resources already approved a companion measure, known as H. J. Res. 120, in a markup on July 30. The committee approved it by unanimous consent. It has not yet been sent to the full House for a vote, which it might take this fall when Congress returns from a five-week summer recess.

Rep. G.K. Butterfield (D-NC) introduced the House measure. No one has signed on as a cosponsor.

The law Congress already approved allows the National Mall Liberty Fund DC to construct the monument. It would have to raise non-federal funds to build it, though. So the Congressional Budget Office figured the project won't cost much federal money. The General Services Administration has approved the area 1 location.

Efforts to get the memorial established have been going on for almost a decade. Murphy and Grassley stated last year that they want the monument to go by 14th St. between Independence Avenue and Jefferson Dr. SW, west of the Jamie L. Whitten Building.

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