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S.Res. 387 (112th): A resolution celebrating Black History Month.

The text of the bill below is as of Mar 1, 2012 (Resolution Agreed to by Senate).



2d Session

S. RES. 387


March 1, 2012

(for herself, Mr. Whitehouse, Ms. Mikulski, Mr. Menendez, Mr. Sanders, Mr. Udall of Colorado, Mr. Brown of Ohio, Mr. Durbin, Mrs. Murray, Mr. Nelson of Florida, Mr. Pryor, Mr. Akaka, Mr. Schumer, Ms. Landrieu, Mr. Brown of Massachusetts, Mr. Merkley, Mr. Nelson of Nebraska, Mr. Franken, Mr. Lautenberg, Mrs. Boxer, Mr. Cochran, Mr. Cardin, and Mr. Levin) submitted the following resolution; which was considered and agreed to


Celebrating Black History Month.

Whereas in 1776, the United States of America was imagined, as stated in the Declaration of Independence, as a new country dedicated to the proposition that . . . all Men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness . . . .;

Whereas the first Africans were brought involuntarily to the shores of America as early as the 17th century;

Whereas African-Americans suffered enslavement and subsequently faced the injustices of lynch mobs, segregation, and denial of the basic and fundamental rights of citizenship;

Whereas inequalities and injustices in our society still exist today;

Whereas in the face of injustices, people of the United States of good will and of all races distinguished themselves with a commitment to the noble ideals on which the United States was founded and courageously fought for the rights and freedom of African-Americans;

Whereas many African-American men and women worked against racism to achieve success and have made significant contributions to the economic, educational, political, artistic, literary, scientific, and technological advancements of the United States;

Whereas the greatness of the United States is reflected in the contributions of African-Americans in all walks of life throughout the history of the United States;

Whereas Lieutenant Colonel Allen Allensworth, Muhammad Ali, Constance Baker Motley, James Baldwin, James Beckwourth, Clara Brown, Ralph Bunche, Shirley Chisholm, Frederick Douglass, W. E. B. Du Bois, Ralph Ellison, Alex Haley, Dorothy Height, Lena Horne, Charles Hamilton Houston, Mahalia Jackson, Martin Luther King, Jr., the Tuskeegee Airmen, Thurgood Marshall, Rosa Parks, Bill Pickett, Jackie Robinson, Sojourner Truth, and Harriet Tubman each lived a life of incandescent greatness, while many African-Americans lived, toiled, and died in obscurity, never achieving the recognition they deserved and yet paved the way for future generations to succeed;

Whereas, pioneers such as Maya Angelou, Arthur Ashe, Jr., Carol Moseley Braun, Ronald Brown, Ursula Burns, Kenneth Chenault, David Dinkins, Alexis Herman, Mae Jemison, Earvin Magic Johnson, Sheila Johnson, James Earl Jones, David Paterson, Marian Wright Edelman, Alice Walker, and Oprah Winfrey have all benefitted from their forefathers and have served as great role models and leaders for future generations to come;

Whereas on November 4, 2008, the people of the United States elected an African-American man, Barack Obama, as President of the United States;

Whereas African-Americans continue to serve the United States at the highest levels of government and military;

Whereas on February 22, 2012, President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama, along with former First Lady Laura Bush, celebrated the groundbreaking of the National Museum of African American History and Culture on the National Mall in Washington, DC;

Whereas the birthdays of Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass inspired the creation of Negro History Week, the precursor to Black History Month;

Whereas Negro History Week represented the culmination of the efforts of Dr. Carter G. Woodson to enhance knowledge of black history through the Journal of Negro History, published by the Association for the Study of African American Life and History, which was founded by Dr. Woodson and Jesse E. Moorland;

Whereas Black History Month, celebrated during the month of February, dates back to 1926 when Dr. Woodson set aside a special period of time in February to recognize the heritage and achievement of black Americans;

Whereas Dr. Woodson, the Father of Black History, stated, “We have a wonderful history behind us. . . . If you are unable to demonstrate to the world that you have this record, the world will say to you, ‘You are not worthy to enjoy the blessings of democracy or anything else.’”;

Whereas since the founding, the United States has been an imperfect work in making progress towards noble goals; and

Whereas the history of the United States is the story of a people regularly affirming high ideals, striving to reach those ideals but often failing, and then struggling to come to terms with the disappointment of that failure before committing to trying again: Now, therefore, be it

That the Senate—


acknowledges that all of the people of the United States are the recipients of the wealth of history given to us by black culture;


recognizes the importance of Black History Month as an opportunity to reflect on the complex history of the United States, while remaining hopeful and confident about the path that lies ahead;


acknowledges the significance of Black History Month as an important opportunity to recognize the tremendous contributions of African-Americans to the history of the United States;


encourages the celebration of Black History Month to provide a continuing opportunity for all people in the United States to learn from the past and to understand the experiences that have shaped the United States; and


agrees that while the United States began in division, the United States must now move forward with purpose, united tirelessly as one Nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all, and to honor the contribution of all pioneers in this country who help ensure the legacy of these great United States.