Proclamation By President Obama Regarding National African American History Month, 2010

Founder of The Black Panther Party - Huey P. Newton

NATIONAL AFRICAN AMERICAN HISTORY MONTH, 2010

– – – – – – –

BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

A PROCLAMATION

In the centuries since African Americans first arrived

on our shores, they have known the bitterness of slavery and

oppression, the hope of progress, and the triumph of the

American Dream. African American history is an essential thread

of the American narrative that traces our Nation’s enduring

struggle to perfect itself. Each February, we recognize African

American History Month as a moment to reflect upon how far we

have come as a Nation, and what challenges remain. This year’s

theme, “The History of Black Economic Empowerment,” calls upon

us to honor the African Americans who overcame injustice and

inequality to achieve financial independence and the security

of self empowerment that comes with it.

Nearly 100 years after the Civil War, African Americans

still faced daunting challenges and indignities. Widespread

racial prejudice inhibited their opportunities, and

institutional discrimination such as black codes and Jim Crow

laws denied them full citizenship rights. Despite these

seemingly impossible barriers, pioneering African Americans

blazed trails for themselves and their children. They became

skilled workers and professionals. They purchased land, and a

new generation of black entrepreneurs founded banks, educational

institutions, newspapers, hospitals, and businesses of all

kinds.

This month, we recognize the courage and tenacity of so

many hard-working Americans whose legacies are woven into the

fabric of our Nation. We are heirs to their extraordinary

progress. Racial prejudice is no longer the steepest barrier

to opportunity for most African Americans, yet substantial

obstacles remain in the remnants of past discrimination.

Structural inequalities — from disparities in education and

health care to the vicious cycle of poverty — still pose

enormous hurdles for black communities across America.

Overcoming today’s challenges will require the same

dedication and sense of urgency that enabled past generations

of African Americans to rise above the injustices of their time.

That is why my Administration is laying a new foundation for

long-term economic growth that helps more than just a privileged

few. We are working hard to give small businesses much-needed

more

(OVER)

2

credit, to slash tax breaks for companies that ship jobs

overseas, and to give those same breaks to companies that create

jobs here at home. We are also reinvesting in our schools and

making college more affordable, because a world class education

is our country’s best roadmap to prosperity.

These initiatives will expand opportunities for African

Americans, and for all Americans, but parents and community

leaders must also be partners in this effort. We must push our

children to reach for the full measure of their potential, just

as the innovators who succeeded in previous generations pushed

their children to achieve something greater. In the volumes of

black history, much remains unwritten. Let us add our own

chapter, full of progress and ambition, so that our children’s

children will know that we, too, did our part to erase an unjust

past and build a brighter future.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the

United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested

in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States,

do hereby proclaim February 2010 as National African American

History Month. I call upon public officials, educators,

librarians, and all the people of the United States to observe

this month with appropriate programs, ceremonies, and

activities.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this

first day of February, in the year of our Lord two thousand ten,

and of the Independence of the United States of America the

two hundred and thirty-fourth.

BARACK OBAMA

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The Washington Review & Commentary is a White House Blog dedicated to publishing official administration documents, press releases, fact sheets, and other information released through the White House Press Office.

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