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Episode Five: 1933–1945Great Nature

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Postcard of outhouse, Grand Teton National Park, circa 1944 Add to Scrapbook

Postcard of outhouse, Grand Teton National Park, circa 1944

Wyoming vs. Grand Teton National Park (continued)

The state of Wyoming then went to court, claiming that Jackson Hole lacked the objects of scientific or historic interest necessary for national monument status. Postcards showing a ramshackle outhouse were circulated with a message saying, "these are some of the historic structures here; this is one known to have been occupied several times by Horace M. Albright." A federal court dismissed the case.

In 1945, Roosevelt died and World War II ended, but the battle of Jackson Hole roared on. In 1950, after it became clear that the bitter fight would never end in unconditional surrender by either side, a compromise was worked out. Teton County would be reimbursed for lost property taxes; ranchers' existing grazing rights were grandfathered in; and the migratory elk herd would be managed by both the Park Service and the state, which would be permitted to stage supervised hunts.

In return, the bulk of Jackson Hole National Monument became part of a vastly enlarged Grand Teton National Park. Included in it was the 30,000 acres John D. Rockefeller Jr. had been trying so hard to give away.

A provision in the agreement banned future presidents from ever again using executive action to establish national monuments in Wyoming, except by the express permission of Congress. Wyoming – the state with the distinction of having the world's first national park, Yellowstone, and the first national monument, Devils Tower, now had another distinction: the only state where the Antiquities Act is null and void.

A Song for Freedom

Lincoln Memorial National Memorial, 1968 Add to Scrapbook

Lincoln Memorial National Memorial, 1968

In 1939, the world-renowned contralto Marian Anderson had been denied the opportunity to perform in Constitution Hall, the 4,000-seat Washington, D.C. auditorium controlled by the Daughters of the American Revolution, because of the color of her skin.

At the urging of Eleanor Roosevelt, Harold Ickes quickly issued Anderson permission to sing at a different venue: the Lincoln Memorial, a recent addition to the national park system.

The concert was free and drew a crowd of 75,000 of all races and creeds. After being introduced by Ickes, Anderson stepped to the microphone and began her program.

Her first song was "America." In light of the events that had brought her to the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, Anderson made two changes to the words. Instead of, "My country 'tis of thee, sweet land of liberty, of thee I sing," Anderson substituted "to thee I sing," subtly altering the context from simple praise into an appeal to the nation's higher ideals. And she thought the final phrase of the first verse so important, she repeated it a second time: "From every mountainside, let freedom ring."

Crowd gathers for Martin Luther King's "I Have a Dream" speech at the Lincoln Memorial National Memorial, August 28, 1963 Add to Scrapbook

Crowd gathers for Martin Luther King's "I Have a Dream" speech at the Lincoln Memorial National Memorial, August 28, 1963

Nearly 25 years later, Anderson would again sing from the Lincoln Memorial's steps, just before Martin Luther King Jr.'s iconic speech in which he too would intone, "let freedom ring."

Episode 6: The Morning of Creation

A proud tourist points at her National Parks windshield stickers, 1922; David Brower in Glen Canyon, 1966; Dayton Duncan's son, Will, standing at edge of canyon. Bryce Canyon National Park, 1998

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For Educators

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Bank of America Evelyn & Walter Haas, Jr Fund Corporation for Public Broadcasting The Arthur Vining Davis Foundations Park Foundation

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THE NATIONAL PARKS: AMERICA'S BEST IDEA is a co-production of

Florentine Films and WETA

 

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