Last week, President Obama acknowledged and honored several notable moments reflecting on U.S. history, and particularly those honoring African Americans. These White House press releases highlighted below came during the week that the Congressional Black Caucus held its 42nd Annual Legislative Sessions.
In today’s cycle of 24 hour news, we often miss out and rarely reflect on moments to discuss and honor our past history. Many Americans want to forget our past and sometimes painful history. We should never forget our past.
We are who we are as a country as a result of our past history. Many of the racist and racial attacks in our society today stem from our past history of slavery. Although slavery ended almost 150 years ago, we are still living in its aftermath. Some persons believe we should dismiss and get over our past history and move forward. We will not eradicate and end racism by forgetting or failing to mention our past. Our history is not a dark secret that needs to stay in the closet.
We need to learn and continue to grow from our past history. President Obama took the time last week to honor the past and memorialize our past for future generations to see and learn.
White House Statement
“On September 22, 1862, President Abraham Lincoln issued the preliminary Emancipation Proclamation, boldly declaring that on New Year’s Day, 1863, all people held as slaves in areas “in rebellion against the United States shall be then, thenceforward, and forever free.” One hundred and fifty years after that historic event, we recognize an important milestone in the American story and reflect on the progress we have made toward realizing our Nation’s founding promise of liberty and justice for all.
Though it would take decades of struggle before African Americans were granted equal treatment and protection under the law, the Emancipation Proclamation marked a courageous step forward in fulfilling that essential task. It affirmed that the Civil War was a war fought not only for the preservation of our union, but for freedom itself. And by opening the Union Army and Navy to African American men, the Proclamation gave new strength to liberty’s cause.
The Emancipation Proclamation stands among the documents of human freedom. As we commemorate this 150th anniversary, let us rededicate ourselves to the timeless principles it championed and celebrate the millions of Americans who have fought for liberty and equality in the generations since. ”
On Thursday, September 20, 2012, the President signed into law:
H.R. 6336, which directs the congressional Joint Committee on the Library to accept a statue of Frederick Douglass from the District of Columbia for placement in Emancipation Hall in the United States Capitol Visitor Center.
Statement from White House Spokesman Kevin Lewis
“On Thursday, President Obama signed a bill, which directs Congress to accept a statue of the great abolitionist Frederick Douglass that will be placed in Emancipation Hall at the U.S. Capitol Visitors Center. Frederick Douglass, once a slave, rose up to become one of our nation’s great reformers in his fight for equality and an advisor to President Lincoln. His life is a testament to the American spirit and an inspiration to so many. His statue at the Capitol, representing the District of Columbia, will add to the long legacy of dynamic African Americans who have displayed extraordinary leadership throughout history.”