Dec 16 2009

Shelby and Sessions Introduce Black Belt National Heritage Area Act

Alabama’s U.S. Senators Richard Shelby and Jeff Sessions today introduced the “Alabama Black Belt National Heritage Area Act” to establish the nineteen counties in Alabama’s Black Belt region as a national heritage area.  The Black Belt region includes the counties of Bibb, Bullock, Butler, Choctaw, Clarke, Conecuh, Dallas, Greene, Hale, Lowndes, Macon, Marengo, Monroe, Montgomery, Perry, Pickens, Sumter, Washington, and Wilcox.

“Alabama’s Black Belt region is full of rich history and culture,” said Shelby.  “Characterized by its distinctive geography and fertile black soil, the Black Belt region is known for its many significant natural and cultural legacies. The Black Belt region was the center of the American civil rights movement, and is home to Pulitzer Prize winning novelist Harper Lee and the Gee’s Bend Quilters. Establishing the region as a heritage area will ensure that these and other cultural, historical, and natural aspects of the Black Belt will be preserved for future generations.”

U.S. Senator Jeff Sessions (R-AL) made the following comments:

“The culturally rich black belt area of Alabama deserves recognition.  It is important to make others aware of what a remarkable area the Black Belt represents. It was in this region that, in 1799, the first U.S. flag flew over what was to be Alabama. The area is home to some of the country’s most memorable writers and artists, and was the location of some of the most important moments of the civil rights movement.  It is a region defined by the fertile soil, which helped drive much of Alabama’s agrarian economy for many years. I am pleased to join Senator Shelby in introducing legislation that would make the Black Belt a National Heritage Area. ”

National Heritage Areas are established by Congress for the purpose of assisting efforts to protect and promote lands that are regarded as distinctive because of their resources, environment, culture, and history associated with their residents. These areas emphasize the relationship between the people and their environment.