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FEBRUARY 2008, African  American History Month:

Presidential Proclamation on National African American History Month
Bush honors achievements, rich heritage of African Americans


THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
January 29, 2008

NATIONAL AFRICAN AMERICAN HISTORY MONTH, 2008
BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

A PROCLAMATION

During National African American History Month, we honor the achievements and celebrate the rich heritage of African Americans.

Throughout our Nation's history, African Americans from all walks of life have offered their talents to the betterment of American society. Scholars such as Frederick Douglass and W.E.B. DuBois were early leaders who placed great importance on educating all people about the need for justice and racial equality. Athletes such as Jackie Robinson and Althea Gibson persevered while breaking the color barrier and competing at the highest levels of sports. Musicians like Nat King Cole and Billie Holiday lifted the American spirit with their creativity and musical gifts. Through their extraordinary accomplishments, these leaders helped bring our Nation closer to fulfilling its founding ideals.

This year's theme, "Carter G. Woodson and the Origins of Multiculturalism," honors an educator who taught his fellow citizens about the traditions and contributions of African Americans. His dedication to educating Americans about cultural diversity initiated this celebration of African-American history. Our Nation is now stronger and more hopeful because generations of leaders like him have worked to help America live up to its promise of equality and the great truth that all of God's children are created equal.

Throughout African American History Month, we celebrate the many contributions African Americans have made to our Nation, and we are reminded of their courage in their struggle to change the hearts and minds of our citizens. While much progress has been made, we must continue to work together to achieve the promise and vision of our great Nation.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, GEORGE W. BUSH, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim February 2008 as National African American History Month. I call upon public officials, educators, and all the people of the United States to observe this month with appropriate programs and activities.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this twenty-eighth day of January, in the year of our Lord two thousand eight, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-second.

GEORGE W. BUSH

 

Message of President George Bush, 2007:

"I am pleased to join you to celebrate African-American History Month. During this special month, we honor the many contributions that African-Americans have made to our country, to our culture, to our national character.

Throughout our history, leaders like Frederick Douglass, Rosa Parks, and Martin Luther King Jr. have called our Nation to live up to the words of the Declaration of Independence. Each of them invoked the self-evident truth that all men are created equal and their courage roused the conscience of a complacent nation. With eloquence and determination, these men and women forced Americans to examine our hearts, revise our laws, and make America the land of justice it was always supposed to be.

A few months ago, we broke ground for the construction of the Martin Luther King Memorial on the National Mall. This memorial will lie between the Jefferson and Lincoln Memorials. It will reflect the arc of Dr. King's life, his search for justice, and the enduring beauty of his words. By its presence, the King Memorial will remind all Americans who visit our capital that a life of conscience can lift up millions of lives.

In December, I was proud to award the Medal of Freedom to three great Americans. Buck O'Neil was a star first baseman at a time when the color barrier kept African Americans out of the big leagues. But he stayed with the game he loved and helped both baseball and our nation change for the better. B.B. King was born the son of poor share croppers. He used his guitar to create a new American art form and is now known to the world as the King of Blues. Dr. Norman Francis is a college president whose finest hour came amid his beloved city's worst trial. His leadership after hurricane Katrina has helped give the people of New Orleans new hope.

This month we also honor the thousands of African-American men and women who wear the uniform of the United States. They follow in a long and proud tradition. They have helped bring the promise of freedom to millions across the world - and their achievements will be celebrated by generations to come.

African-American History Month reminds us of the great progress our nation has made toward racial equality. One of these hard-won gains was the Voting Rights Act of 1965, which for the first time in our history guaranteed African Americans their most fundamental right as citizens. The Voting Rights Act was a great achievement of the Civil Rights Movement. Last year I was proud to sign legislation reauthorizing this good law. And as we go forward, we must continue to work for an America where the dignity of every person is respected, where hope and opportunity reach into every neighborhood, and where every citizen has the chance to live the American dream.

May God bless you, and may God bless America."

February 7, 2007

Source: The White House Website

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