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Public Papers - 1990 - January

Message on the Observance of National Afro-American (Black) History Month, February 1990


Each February, we observe National Black History Month in recognition of the remarkable achievements of Black Americans and the many contributions they have made to our nation's heritage.

In 1926, the respected historian, Carter G. Woodson, initiated ``Negro History Week'' in order to increase public appreciation for the important role Black Americans have played in shaping American history. This year, during Black History Month, we once again pay tribute to those courageous men and women who have triumphed over the bitter legacy of slavery and discrimination and become full partners in America's great experiment in self-government.

Throughout our nation's history, Black Americans have continued to demonstrate the strength of their beliefs and the wealth of their abilities. The career of Dr. Daniel Hale Williams, the first physician to perform successful open-heart surgery, and the beloved poetry of Langston Hughes and Sterling Brown provide powerful examples of the honor Black Americans have earned in virtually every field of endeavor. This month, we also celebrate the lasting influence of courageous individuals like Rosa Parks and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., who led the way in the struggle against bigotry and segregation. Their efforts helped open the doors of opportunity for millions of their fellow Americans.

Standing on the threshold of a new decade, we look to the future with high hopes, confident that it will be marked by ever greater achievements among Black Americans and by continued progress in our efforts to promote equal opportunity and racial harmony in the United States.

Today, I encourage all Americans to join me in saluting the tremendous achievements of Black Americans. They strengthen and enrich our entire nation.

George Bush

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