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National Leadership Organizations Urge President Bush to Sign Executive Order for Amended Re-Authorization of Long Overdue Benjamin Banneker Memorial
Washington, DC, January 5, 2009 – National Urban League President/CEO, Marc Morial; National Council of Negro Women Chair Emerita, Dr. Dorothy Height; Operation PUSH Fdr./Pres., Rev. Jesse Jackson; NAACP President/CEO, Benjamin Jealous; Black Leadership Forum President/CEO, Gary Flowers; Former DC Mayor/City Councilman, Marion Barry; National Juneteenth Holiday Fdr./CEO, Dr. Ronald Myers and other highly respected national leaders such as former Senate Leader, and HHS Secretary Nominee, Tom Daschle, and current RNC GOPAC Chair and RNC Chair nominee, Former MD Lt. Gov., Michael Steele, are urging President George W. Bush to sign an Executive Order re-authorizing P.L. 105-355, with a $15 million predevelopment funding attachment, and a caveat that the heroic sized bronzed statue of Banneker is to be placed inside Banneker Overlook Park. The commemorative endeavor, which inevitably seeks to become a Living Memorial by having the Benjamin Banneker Institute of Math and Science serve as a prestigious academy, is slated to be erected along the L’Enfant Plaza/Banneker Overlook corridor in southwest DC. The coveted site is sandwiched between Smithsonian Castle on the Mall, and the southwest water front, currently undergoing a multi-billion dollar revitalization. The BBIMS will serve as a state-of-the-
Most often referred to as America’s First Black Man of Science, the Washington Interdependence Council has elected to defer to Banneker as A Man of Many Firsts, in light of his litany of pioneering discoveries as a: 1) Scientist [the first to document the 17 year locust cycle]; 2) Astronomer [America’s first noted black astronomer, and first to discover that Sirius is two stars rather than one]; 3) Author [publisher of among America’s first almanacs]; 4) Abolitionist [penning the very first publicly documented protest letter in American history to Thomas Jefferson]; 5) Statesman [first to recommend a Dept. of Peace as a Cabinet post]; 6) Planner [a member of the first presidential Commission team, charged with designing the nation’s capitol]; 7) Farmer [among the first to utilize crop rotation and water irrigation with enviable results]; and 8) Engineer [creator of the first American clock made entirely of indigenous parts]. These are amongst his most notable pioneering achievements.
Marc Morial, Former New Orleans Mayor and President and CEO of the National Urban League wrote, “Mr. President, your Executive Order on the Banneker Memorial would go a long way to address the fact that African-Americans are the only ethnicity without a world class commemorative presence within the monumental core of the nation’s capital, despite the longstanding role they have played as major contributors to the growth and prosperity of America. We look forward to your consideration and action to make this happen.”
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The Washington Interdependence Council is a non-profit civic agency founded in 1996.
It's primary mission is the promotion of a need for symbolic environmental diversity in the American landscape.
It's primary initiative is the establishment of a world class monument to colonial American hero, Benjamin Banneker [1731-1806]. The memorial is the second in American history authorized to honor the legacy of an African-American for placement within the monumental core of the nation's capitol. The memoral was authorized by Congress
[P.L. 105-355] in 1998 and received site approval for placement along the L'Enfant Plaza/Banneker Overlook Circle corridor in 1999. The memorial is slated for completion in concert with the finished renovation of the southwest waterfront, currently undergoing a $1.5 billion revitalization, in 2015.