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For Immediate Release
Office of the First Lady
August 16, 2006
Mrs. Bush's Remarks After Visit to Wright-Dunbar Village
2:47 P.M. EDT
MRS. BUSH: Well, I'm so happy to have this chance to tour the Wright-Dunbar area here in Dayton, to see the buildings that the Wrights used, both as their bicycle shop and to run their printing shop; and the place where Paul Laurence Dunbar printed his newspaper that he sold in Dayton.
This area is a really wonderful example for the rest of the country of a way to use your historic assets and literary assets to try to revitalize neighborhoods. In 2003, President Bush announced the Preserve America Initiative, and that initiative is designed to help neighborhoods like this one, and communities, figure out how to preserve and protect both their natural assets and their cultural and historical assets for the benefit of the citizens of the community -- and really for the benefit of all of us, for everyone who has the opportunity to come here and to learn about the early days of flight, of Orville and Wilbur; and to learn about the first real celebrity African American writer, Paul Laurence Dunbar, who ended up being really sort of the father of the Harlem renaissance -- inspired a lot of African American writers in the '20s in Harlem.
So I've had a wonderful chance to see both the printing shop and the bicycle shop, to see the way this museum displays the lives of both the Wright brothers and Paul Laurence Dunbar. I urge people in Dayton, as well as all over the state of Ohio and all over the U.S. to come here. There are several sites all within this one neighborhood -- you can visit Paul Laurence Dunbar's house, which is another one of the sites that's very close here. And it really gives you an opportunity to see the history of Dayton, to see the history of flight and the innovation of the people that lived here in Dayton around the turn of the last century.
So this was a lot of fun for me. I'm interested, obviously, in our history, the United States. I'm interested in the ways we can protect and restore both our historical sites and our natural sites. This is a really great example of a partnership, with a number of partners in the community, including many people who are over here who are part of the different partnerships that have put this together. And including the National Parks, which is one of the partners.
Thanks, everybody. Thanks for going on the tour with me; it was a lot of fun.
Q As a librarian, did you learn anything --
MRS. BUSH: Yes, I did. I did learn a lot. Of course, as a librarian, I'm very aware of Paul Laurence Dunbar, but I didn't know that Maya Angelou's book, "I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings" -- or "The Caged Bird Sings," is a line from Paul Laurence Dunbar, and I saw that here. I listened to one of the really interesting, interactive things you have at this museum, where you can listen to his poetry read over a little old telephone earpiece, like they would have had early on in this century.
CONGRESSMAN TURNER: I was very glad to welcome the First Lady here to the Wright-Dunbar area. I invited her because of her love for historic preservation and the fact that this community had received a historic Preserve America designation, which she has been such an advocate for.
We've been very proud to show her the assets that we have here. And we, of course, told her that the next time she's in North Carolina, she should tell them that she's been to the Wright Brothers -- (laughter.)
MRS. BUSH: Congressman Turner has been very active in the Preserve America initiative, as well. We've been together on Capitol Hill a couple of times when Preserve America grants were handed out, when the Preserve America communities come in from around the country.
There are about almost 400 communities in the United States that have committed to be Preserve America communities, to figure out the ways they can work together to -- all members of the community, in partnerships to protect their assets, preserve and protect their assets in each one of these communities.
SENATOR DeWINE: I told the First Lady how proud we are of this community that has come together, and the different people that are rebuilding this community -- it's not just a historic site, which it certainly is, but its' a community where people are living here, where it's coming back. I see many of my friends out here. I talked about Anne, who has the children -- not "children," but young adults who are building, rebuilding homes and people are living in here. And it's just a very exciting thing.
First Lady, Mrs. Bush, we're just glad to have you here.
MRS. BUSH: Thanks so much.
SENATOR DeWINE: It's exciting to have you here in this vibrant neighborhood.
MRS. BUSH: Thanks. And I want to thank all of the community members who work so hard and will continue to work as this community becomes more and more vital for Dayton and for all the people that live here and all the people that will come visit.
So thank you all very much. (Applause.)