Civil rights activists, athletes and musicians are among the people Americans’ have suggested be featured in President Donald Trump’s proposed National Garden of American Heroes.
The nominations, which were made public this week, follow an executive order issued July 3 in which the President called for a park to feature statutes of historically significant Americans.
The order designated a task force to identify potential locations for the park, determine whether states or counties had statues to donate and provide recommends of American heroes who should be featured. The committee sent out more than 2,000 letters to state governors and county officials for recommendations, according to the the Department of the Interior. While every state was invited to give input, some declined to participate including California, Louisiana, and New Mexico.
The department has been collecting the proposals and is expected to report the findings to Trump on Tuesday, according to the order.
Several states nominated civil rights activists and pioneers, including Congressman John Lewis, Rosa Parks and the Little Rock Nine. Lehigh County, Pennsylvania, officials used their nominations to bring awareness to Black Americans whose deaths have sparked unrest across the nation.
“Most recently, we can acknowledge that George Floyd, Breanna Taylor, Trayvon Martin and others, have shaped the future of America by finally bringing the systemic racial injustices present in our policing to the forefront of politics,” Amy Zanelli, Lehigh County Commissioner, wrote in a letter to the task force.
“We are making great advancements, and it would be prudent to remember them as historically significant Americans.”
Some recommendations highlighted American women who became the first in their field. Arizona nominated Sandra Day O’Connor, the first woman to serve on the Supreme Court. Oklahoma submitted Wilma Pearl Mankiller, the first woman elected as chief of a major Native American tribe. Wyoming nominated Louisa Ann Swain, the first woman in the US vote in a general election.
Indiana nominated Madam C.J. Walker who founded a cosmetics and hair care line focusing on Black women. The success of the line led Walker to become the first female self-made millionaire in America, according to the Guinness Book of World Records.
Other nominations include Olympian Gretchen Fraser, who was the first American to win gold in skiing, legendary basketball player and coach, John Robert Wooden, along with Johnny Cash, one of the best selling music artists of all time. The recommendation letters can be viewed on the Department of the Interior’s website.
“The Task Force has received hundreds of recommendations for American heroes by a bipartisan group of governors and locally elected officials, in addition to the general public,” the agency said in a statement submitted to CNN on Monday. “The robust responses and enthusiasm to highlight hometown, American heroes has been overwhelming.”
The order listed the following 31 Americans that were predetermined be honored in the outdoor park; John Adams, Susan B. Anthony, Clara Barton, Daniel Boone, Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain, Henry Clay, Davy Crockett, Frederick Douglass, Amelia Earhart, Benjamin Franklin, Billy Graham, Alexander Hamilton, Thomas Jefferson, Martin Luther King, Jr., Abraham Lincoln, Douglas MacArthur, Dolley Madison, James Madison, Christa McAuliffe, Audie Murphy, George S. Patton, Jr., Ronald Reagan, Jackie Robinson, Betsy Ross, Antonin Scalia, Harriet Beecher Stowe, Harriet Tubman, Booker T. Washington, George Washington, and Orville and Wilbur Wright.
The task force is chaired by Interior Secretary David Bernhardt and includes; Jon Peede, National Endowment for the Humanities, Emily Murphy, General Services Administration, Aimee Jorjani, Advisory Council on Historic Preservation, Mary Anne Carter, National Endowment for the Arts, and Chuck Laudner, Department of the Interior.
The executive order states the National Garden should be opened for the public prior to the 250th anniversary of the proclamation of the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 2026.