The monuments man

President Obama is giving us a parting gift: a bunch of new national monuments.

The Obama administration announced on Thursday that it will create national monuments at three sites that are important in the history of African-Americans in the South and it will protect two areas on the West Coast to bolster climate resilience.

Two of the sites are in Alabama and will commemorate terrorist attacks by segregationists on African-Americans and civil rights activists. Another, in Beaufort, South Carolina, honors the history of African-American educational advancement during Reconstruction.

These are just the latest of the Obama administration’s many acts to celebrate locations of civil rights struggle and advancement. Last year, Obama created a national monument at the Stonewall Inn in New York City to honor gay rights history. Earlier this week, the Department of Interior established Harriet Tubman National Historical Park, where the Underground Railroad conductor lived in Auburn, New York.

Obama’s announcement on Thursday also included expanding the California Coastal National Monument, where increasing the expanse of undeveloped land on shorelines will help the area better cope with rising sea levels and more severe storms. And the president is expanding the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument in Oregon.

Obama has protected more land under the Antiquities Act than any other president, by far.