Durbin Discusses Preserving National Historical Sites With Looking For Lincoln Leaders

SPRINGFIELD – U.S. Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL) today met with Sarah Watson, Executive Director of Looking for Lincoln and the Abraham Lincoln National Heritage Area (ALNHA), and Dr. Collin Hitt, the Board Chair of Looking forLincoln, to discuss the importance of preserving national historical sites in Illinois. 

During the meeting, Durbin received an update on Looking for Lincoln’s efforts to promote the story of recently-established New Philadelphia National Historical Site, which was made possible by Durbin’s efforts to include his legislation to recognize New Philadelphia in the Fiscal Year 2023 (FY23) omnibus appropriations bill.  The New Philadelphia National Historical commemorates the history of “New Philadelphia,” located in present-day Barry, Illinois, as the first town platted and legally registered by a Black American, Frank McWorter.  

“Illinoisans and visitors alike depend on historical sites like the Abraham Lincoln National Heritage Area to learn about our state’s storied history,” said Durbin.“We are lucky to have such dedicated preservationists like Sarah Watson and Dr. Hitt of Looking for Lincoln speaking out for the needs of Illinois’ historical sites.  As I reiterated in our meeting today, I will continue to be a strong federal partner and help ensure our state’s historical sites have the resources needed to make history more accessible for residents and visitors.”

A photo of the meeting is available here. 

Durbin has long been a fierce supporter of National Heritage Areas.  Last year, Durbin’s Bronzeville Black Metropolis National Heritage Area Act was signed into law, creating a National Park Service (NPS) National Heritage Area in the greater Bronzeville community of Chicago to tell the story of the Great Migration and how it created a city within a city, known as a Black Metropolis. 

Durbin has also continuously worked to ensure that Illinois’ national heritage sites have the proper funding to continue operating.  As the funding authorization forAbraham Lincoln National Heritage Areas (ALNHA) was set to expire this year, Durbin worked alongside his colleagues to extend funding authorizations for 45 national heritage areas across the country, including ALNHA, until 2038.