[United States Statutes at Large, Volume 124, 111th Congress, 2nd Session]
[From the U.S. Government Printing Office, www.gpo.gov]

PROCLAMATION 8476--FEB. 1, 2010

Proclamation 8476 of February 1, 2010
National African American History Month, 2010
By the President of the United States of America
A Proclamation

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

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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
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-