The immeasurable role African Americans have had in making the United States the strong nation it is today cannot be fully recognized in one short month. However, one fact remains clear: Black history is American history. This February, we highlight the titans of African-American history: Marylanders Harriet Tubman and Thurgood Marshall, icons including Dr. Martin Luther King and Dr. Dorothy Height, and contemporary heroes like John Lewis and Mae Jemison. We also celebrate the countless men and women whose names will never grace the history books, those who fought each day for freedom and equality, those who pushed the limits of innovation and those who endured and overcame hardships over the centuries.
“As much as Black History Month is about reflecting on a rich past, it is also a time for all Americans to contemplate how to create a better future. As we celebrate, the struggle to ensure all Americans are treated fairly under the law rages on. I have introduced multiple pieces of legislation to help better train law enforcement, end the counterproductive disenfranchisement of returning citizens and to protect the fundamental right to vote. Across the country, more Americans are becoming aware that the impacts of pollution often disproportionately harm communities of color. Although we’ve seen unemployment hit record lows under President Obama, far too many people still struggle to find the means to support themselves and their families.
“The challenges we face as a nation are great but the lessons of Black History Month give me great hope. Overcoming adversity and hard work are recurring themes during Black History Month and indelible parts of the American spirit. I am confident that if we are willing to learn from our past, we will continue to be successful in our efforts to ‘form a more perfect Union’.”