Pryor, Lincoln, Snyder and Congressional Black Caucus Secure Funding For Little Rock Central High Visitors Center
WASHINGTON D.C. - Senators Mark Pryor and Blanche Lincoln and Congressman Vic Snyder today announced they have secured funding for the design phase of the Little Rock Central High School Museum and Visitors Center to ensure its completion in time to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the school's desegregation crisis.
Members of the delegation said the Fiscal Year 2005 Omnibus Appropriations Bill included $733,000 for the design phase of the Visitors Center, which is the full amount that would be eligible for Fiscal Year 2005. The final spending package was passed by the House and Senate over the weekend, and now awaits the President's signature.
The Arkansas delegation worked with Congressional Black Caucus Chairman Elijah Cummings and leaders of the Senate Appropriations Committee to raise awareness about the importance of funding the Visitors Center. Last month, the Senate passed Pryor's resolution to leverage funding for the project; thirty-eight members of the House of Representatives cosponsored identical legislation introduced by Cummings.
"I went to battle for this funding because I believe the extraordinary achievements of the Little Rock Nine should be properly recorded and recognized at the Visitors Center," Pryor said. "Visitors from around the state and the country will travel to Little Rock to learn more about this important struggle in the civil rights movement."
"Securing this funding is an important first step to more permanently preserve the lessons caused by the events of 1957," Lincoln said. "The nine brave students who overcame adversity and hate are shining examples to us all of how determination can affect not only our local communities, but the nation as well. I'm proud to have worked with Senator Pryor to establish a state of the art facility so future generations can relive this pivotal moment in history."
Congressman Snyder said, "Last week, Little Rock was proud to celebrate the Clinton Presidential Library opening. In 2007, we will once again host the world for an historical event, the 50th anniversary of the Central High Crisis. This funding is crucial to ensure the completion of the Visitors Center and the commemoration of the Little Rock Nine."
"Too often, our shared history is not properly recognized and thus, future generations do not have the advantage of fully understanding past struggles," said U.S. Representative Elijah E. Cummings, Chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus. "This initial funding for the design of the Little Rock Central High Visitors Center is a great first step toward ensuring that we all fully understand and salute the inspirational story of the Little Rock Nine."