Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release February 29, 2000


As the first city in the United States founded by former slaves, Princeville, North Carolina holds a special and highly significant place in our nation's history. In its early days, Princeville was called Freedom Hill by fleeing African Americans who settled along the banks of the River Tar under the protection of Union troops at the close of the Civil War. In more recent times, repeated flooding from the River Tar has caused damage in Princeville, which was devastated this fall by the particularly severe floods that accompanied Hurricane Floyd.

Today, I am announcing the creation, by Executive Order, of the President's Council on the Future of Princeville, North Carolina. This Council will bring together representatives from twelve Federal agencies, several key members of my Cabinet and, chaired by Sally Katzen of the Office of Management and Budget, it will work with elected officials, the private sector, community and non-profit groups to recommend measures to preserve and protect Princeville for the future. I have asked the Council to move promptly to recommend action that my Administration can take to help repair and rebuild Princeville, and, to the extent possible, protect the town from future floods.

We have taken many steps since this terrible flooding hit Princeville last fall, from immediately dispatching emergency workers to making resources available for the people of Princeville in their efforts to rebuild. It is my firm belief and the policy of my Administration that we must do more to help the people of Princeville who have bravely chosen to stay and rebuild their badly damaged hometown. We owe them our best efforts.

It is enormously important that, as we celebrate Black History Month and honor the long and proud history of this uniquely important town, we also take the steps to preserve it for the future. As we embark on this new chapter in Princeville's history, I would like to thank Rep. Eva Clayton who has led the charge for this step I am announcing today and who has worked tirelessly on behalf of this important town. I also thank Rep. Charles Rangel for his support of this important effort.

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