Tuesday, March 1, 2011

House Panel Approves Oklahoma Freedom Trail Bill

From The House Media Division ~ Legislation approved by a House appropriations subcommittee would create an official Oklahoma Freedom Trail to recognize and document state historical sites associated with the freedom and civil rights movement of African-American citizens.

Rep. Anastasia Pittman:
'Source of pride'
House Bill 1979, by Rep. Anastasia A. Pittman, would direct the state tourism and transportation departments, the Oklahoma Historical Society and the Oklahoma Film and Music Commission to work jointly to promote the Oklahoma Freedom Trail.

The legislation also calls for a working group to establish what sites would be included on the trail and to create a map and brochure to promote it.

“The history of the freedom and civil rights movements in the state are an important source of pride and tourism interest,” said Pittman, D-Oklahoma City. “It is past time for Oklahomans to identify the significant locations and black towns in order to connect African American history with our state’s tourism promotion. I am very proud to author this legislation and to see it pass its first hurdle.”

Oklahoma History Center Administrative Program Officer Bruce Fisher said the legislation would promote tourism.

“From breathtaking John Hope Franklin Reconciliation Park in Tulsa, to the campus of the University of Oklahoma that displays a beautiful garden dedicated to Ada Lois Sipuel Fisher, to the state Capitol that displays iconic portraits of noted civil rights leaders and a fantastic exhibit at the Oklahoma History Center, Oklahomans have already created the product,” Fisher said. “This is the first year of the sesquicentennial of the Civil War and House Bill 1979 is a great way to promote cultural heritage tourism in Oklahoma.”

House Bill 1979 was approved unanimously by the House Appropriations and Budget Subcommittee on Natural Resources and Regulatory Services. It now awaits consideration in the House Appropriations and Budget Committee.

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