Presidential Proclamation — National African American History Month

Monday, February 1, 2010


In the centuries since African Americans first arrived on our shores, they have known the bitterness of slavery and oppression, the hope of progress, and the triumph of the American Dream. African American history is an essential thread of the American narrative that traces our Nation’s enduring struggle to perfect itself. Each February, we recognize African American History Month as a moment to reflect upon how far we have come as a Nation, and what challenges remain. This year’s theme, "The History of Black Economic Empowerment," calls upon us to honor the African Americans who overcame injustice and inequality to achieve financial independence and the security of self empowerment that comes with it.

Nearly 100 years after the Civil War, African Americans still faced daunting challenges and indignities. Widespread racial prejudice inhibited their opportunities, and institutional discrimination such as black codes and Jim Crow laws denied them full citizenship rights. Despite these seemingly impossible barriers, pioneering African Americans blazed trails for themselves and their children. They became skilled workers and professionals. They purchased land, and a new generation of black entrepreneurs founded banks, educational institutions, newspapers, hospitals, and businesses of all kinds.

This month, we recognize the courage and tenacity of so many hard-working Americans whose legacies are woven into the fabric of our Nation. We are heirs to their extraordinary progress. Racial prejudice is no longer the steepest barrier to opportunity for most African Americans, yet substantial obstacles remain in the remnants of past discrimination. Structural inequalities — from disparities in education and health care to the vicious cycle of poverty — still pose enormous hurdles for black communities across America.

Overcoming today’s challenges will require the same dedication and sense of urgency that enabled past generations of African Americans to rise above the injustices of their time. That is why my Administration is laying a new foundation for long-term economic growth that helps more than just a privileged few. We are working hard to give small businesses much-needed credit, to slash tax breaks for companies that ship jobs overseas, and to give those same breaks to companies that create jobs here at home. We are also reinvesting in our schools and making college more affordable, because a world class education is our country’s best roadmap to prosperity.

These initiatives will expand opportunities for African Americans, and for all Americans, but parents and community leaders must also be partners in this effort. We must push our children to reach for the full measure of their potential, just as the innovators who succeeded in previous generations pushed their children to achieve something greater. In the volumes of black history, much remains unwritten. Let us add our own chapter, full of progress and ambition, so that our children’s children will know that we, too, did our part to erase an unjust past and build a brighter future.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim February 2010 as National African American History Month. I call upon public officials, educators, librarians, and all the people of the United States to observe this month with appropriate programs, ceremonies, and activities.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this first day of February, in the year of our Lord two thousand ten, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-fourth.



Dr. Eugene Walton
February 5, 2010: 1:04 pm

The all-new site offers these three programs for this month, which is Black History Month:

The Black History Literacy Test – 100 Baseline Questions and Answers (PDF), including

Question 16: Most slaves lived their lives

a. on small to medium sized farms where the “master” had few slaves.

b. on huge plantations with many slaves.

c. on small farms with large numbers of slaves.

d. in cities and small towns.

Answer 16: a. on small to medium sized farms. In 1860 only 2 per cent of southern slave holders held more than 50 slaves; only one per cent held 200 or more. Most slaves were held on small to medium sized farms with close personal contact with the slaveholder. The exceptions were in South Carolina and Georgia where huge plantations of rice required large concentrations of labor.

The total test (100 questions) will be offered on (about 25 per week) during February on a “Read Only” basis AT NO CHARGE. The, beginning March 1, you will be able to Download and Print the whole Test for a fee of $ 3.95.

Go to and watch for the Black History Literacy Test to appear on the site’s Merry-Go-Round of Ideas, Double Click on the image and learn!

The Slaves Who Built The Capitol and The White House (22 pp, PDF) covers why these Washington, D.C. landmarks could not have been built without slave labor; why the Federal Commissioners (in charge) leased rather than owned the slave builders; how much $ owners received for their slaves’ labors; how some slaves received money paid directly to them and more!

This short document may be Read, Downloaded and Printed for FREE, FREE, FREE. Just double click on its image on the Merry-Go-Round of Ideas and learn!

Call The Roll: The Heroes In Black History Videos. These three videos cover the contributions of Blacks (free and enslaved) and Whites toward the dismantling of slavery, Jim Crow and segregation between 1619 and 1954. They will be shown in the Video Window of on the following schedule:

Feb. 1 – 7: “Africans To The Americas;” & “Resisting Slavery.” [6 min.]

Feb. 8 – l8: “Fighting The War For Freedom;” & “Reconstruction.” [4 min.]

Feb. l9 – 28 “”Separate But NOT Equal,” & “Civil Rights Revolution” [8 min]

Go to, hit the Play button, watch the videos and learn!




will not be displayed