WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Ben Cardin and Congressman Kweisi Mfume (both D-Md.) announced the introduction of the National Council on African American History and Culture Act of 2022 in the United States House of Representatives and Senate. This legislation would create a 12-person National Council on African American History and Culture to educate, preserve and celebrate Black history and culture. In short, the Council would advise the National Endowment for the Humanities on how they can best amplify the work of Black creators, strengthen teaching and learning in schools to ensure Black history and culture is recognized, and provide critical resources dedicated to preserving Black history.
“The lessons our children learn in school last a lifetime, and for too long those lessons have failed to fully acknowledge the role of Black Americans. And it happens in far more places than schools – so much of what we have learned for generations about history, music, culture and more has diminished the role of African American creators, writers, musicians and beyond,” said Senator Cardin. “I am proud to lead the effort in the Senate to advance the companion legislation to Congressman Mfume’s bill to create a National Council on African American History and Culture. The time has come to ensure that every future generation has a factual and complete understanding of the role that all Americans have played in advancing our society, and this legislation moves us decisively in the right direction.”
“African Americans have played an essential role in creating our country as it exists today. Yet, our contributions are not always fully recognized, celebrated, or preserved, including in the humanities,” said Congressman Mfume. “Establishing the National Council on African American History and Culture will ensure African American history is fully integrated into the telling of American history. By giving Black professors, artists, and storytellers a seat at the table, America advances one step closer to a nation that recognizes the tremendous value of Black history and culture.”
Highlights of the National Council on African American History and Culture Act of 2022
The Council will be composed of 12 members appointed by the President and confirmed by the United States Senate.
The Council will prepare an annual report for the Chairperson of the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), which evaluates various programs and activities of the NEH to document the extent to which they are contributing to the preservation and celebration of Black history and culture.
The Council will also:
- Monitor the work of museums and organizations dedicated to the preservation of Black history and culture
- Gather information concerning historical developments and cultural trends in Black history and culture
- Propose national policy recommendations to foster and promote the understanding of African American history, the preservation of African American culture, and the celebration of African Americans as contributors to the country’s economic, cultural, and political success
- Make and furnish research and recommendations at the Chairperson of the NEH may request