FEBRUARY 2007, Black
American History Month:
President George Bush:
"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.
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
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