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WHEREAS, Virginians have long realized the value of good stewardship for the Commonwealth and the nation of its historic resources, which span nearly 16,000 years (or more); and
WHEREAS, we can thank the grassroots efforts of women in preserving so much of our historic legacy, beginning with the preservation of George Washington’s Mount Vernon by the Mount Vernon Ladies Association and Jamestown by the Association for the Preservation of Virginia Antiquities (today’s Preservation Virginia)—again largely through the steadfast diligence of women; and
WHEREAS, that tradition of leadership by women arose during an era when the study of history largely focused on “Great Men” and their achievements, decades before women obtained the right to vote and many decades before the achievements and contributions of women to our cultural legacy became a natural and rigorous part of scholarly and historical inquiry; and
WHEREAS, without the pioneering, foundational work women accomplished, we would not have the broad based support preservation has earned today as it continues to help all Virginia’s citizens and localities to recognize, protect, and rehabilitate private homes and public buildings and historic sites for enduring community benefit; and
WHEREAS, those women in partnership with forwarding-thinking men established the merits of preservation and gave the Commonwealth a leading role in creating a nationally esteemed historic rehabilitation tax credit program, preservation easements, and a first-in-the-nation historical marker program that today promotes the significant people, places, and events of all Virginians including women, African Americans, Virginia Indians and other previously under-represented voices; and
WHEREAS, preserving the historic buildings, sites, battlefields, and other tangible reminders of Virginia’s great history provides the raw material to revitalize our communities, create jobs, encourage new businesses, attract millions of visitors to our cities, towns and rural areas, and to educate our children, connecting them with a rich heritage and promising future; and
WHEREAS, the COVID-19 pandemic has heightened our awareness of how essential our historic legacy is to our economy and our communities, and that rehabilitation of historic buildings will leverage private investment in our communities by helping put Virginians back to work; and
WHEREAS, scholars, historians, archaeologists, and others routinely use DHR’s Archeological Collections of more than six million artifacts, and the DHR Conservation Lab to research Virginia history and prehistory; and
WHEREAS, the National Trust for Historic Preservation co-sponsors Preservation Month 2020 with the Commonwealth of Virginia; and
WHEREAS, 2020 is the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment to the Constitution, which extended voting rights to women, thereby increasing public support for policies and initiatives that promote and sustain historic preservation;
THEREFORE, I, Ralph S. Northam, do hereby recognize May 2020 as NATIONAL HISTORIC PRESERVATION MONTH in our COMMONWEALTH OF VIRGINIA, and I call this observance to the attention of all our citizens.