Polk Commissioners presented with Charters of Freedom gift

Published 11:46 am Tuesday, May 16, 2023

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Donation adds civil rights amendments to Veteran’s Park documents


COLUMBUS – On Monday, the Polk County Board of Commissioners was presented a gift of a framed print of notable civil rights amendments.

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Foundation Forward, an educational nonprofit organization, has previously gifted replicas of foundational documents to the county. Those replicas went on to make up the Charters of Freedom monument at Veteran’s Park, next to the House of Flags Museum in Columbus. The Charters of Freedom currently displays the Declaration of Independence, the United States Constitution and the Bill of Rights.

The dedication took place on Constitution Day, September 17, 2019. 

Ronald Lewis and David Streater of Foundation Forward came up with the idea for the print that includes the 13th, 14th, 15th, 19th and 24th amendments to complete the Charters of Freedom monument. Collectively, these amendments abolish slavery, define citizenship, address due process and equal protection, prohibit the denial of voting rights on the basis of race or sex, and eliminate poll tax requirements to vote.

Ronald Lewis presents Civil Rights Amendments gift to the Polk County Board of Commissioners (Photo by Grant Langston)

“We decided that we needed something else to complete the loop, for all Americans,” said Lewis. “We’re all Americans with the same rights and privileges under the constitution of this great country.”

Chairman Tommy Melton showed his appreciation of the gift, saying, “I’m short on words. Polk County is honored, this board of commissioners is honored.”

Donations are being sought for a pedestal to add the documents to Veteran’s Park.