President Barack Obama speaks at MacGavock High School in Nashville, Tenn. 

President Barack Obama released a proclamation Friday, declaring February Black History Month, saying, “Through centuries of struggle, and through the toil of generations, African Americans have claimed rights long denied.”

The proclamation, released by the White House, urges all people of the U.S. to observe the month with appropriate programs, ceremonies, and activities.


“During National African American History Month,” he said,“we honor the men and women at the heart of this journey – from engineers of the Underground Railroad to educators who answered a free people's call for a free mind, from patriots who proved that valor knows no color to demonstrators who gathered on the battlefields of justice and marched our Nation toward a brighter day.

“As we pay tribute to the heroes, sung and unsung, of African-American history, we recall the inner strength that sustained millions in bondage," he continued. "We remember the courage that led activists to defy lynch mobs and register their neighbors to vote. And we carry forward the unyielding hope that guided a movement as it bent the arc of the moral universe toward justice. Even while we seek to dull the scars of slavery and legalized discrimination, we hold fast to the values gained through centuries of trial and suffering.”

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