Obama announced Cesar Chavez monument

President worked to energize Latino voters

KEENE, Calif. (CNN) - President Obama made modern history Monday when he announced the creation of a monument to honor Cesar Chavez, as he worked to energize Latino voters less than a month before the presidential election.

The Cesar E. Chavez National Monument became the 398th park in the National Park Service system, and the first since the 1700s to honor a Latino, the park service told CNN.

The president will speak at the event in Keene, California, on land known as Nuestra Señora Reina de la Paz, where Chavez lived and led the farm worker movement.

"Cesar Chavez gave a voice to poor and disenfranchised workers everywhere," Obama said in a statement. "La Paz was at the center of some of the most significant civil rights moments in our nation's history, and by designating it a national monument, Chavez' legacy will be preserved and shared to inspire generations to come."

The National Hispanic Leadership Agenda, a coalition of 30 Latino organizations, lauded the move.

"Cesar E. Chavez embodied the overarching principal that individuals can accomplish more as a community than they ever could on their own," said Hector E. Sanchez, executive director of the Labor Council for Latin American Advancement, in a statement put out by the leadership agenda.

The monument includes 120 acres, National Park Service spokesman David Barna said.

It encompasses property that includes a visitor's center, the United Farm Workers' legal aid offices, Chavez's home with his wife, Helen, a memorial garden containing his grave, and other buildings, the White House said.

Barna said no sculpture is planned.

The announcement came as Obama and his Republican challenger, Mitt Romney, worked to court Latino voters.

The monument is the fourth designated by Obama under the Antiquities Act.

The Chavez family donated certain properties to the federal government so that the monument could be established.

Beginning Tuesday, the park service will take steps to prepare it as an official site, Barna said.

It will become "one of those places that everyone should visit," he said, "part of our shared cultural heritage."

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