January 31, 1985

On February 1st we begin the Fifty - Ninth Annual Black History Month, a national celebration of the role of Black Americans in all segments of life in this nation and of Black culture around the globe.

This year's Black History Month theme, ``The Afro - American Family: Historical Strengths for the New Century'' reflects my belief that if families are strengthened, other social ills will be lessened. It is in the home that we learn respect for authority, the importance of protecting the weak, a sense of honor, and justice.

If families are the building blocks of society -- then society has a great stake in sound families. That is why black families throughout this great nation can be a powerful, organizing theme for America's social policies.

It is a very special privilege for me to call on the people of the United States to join in this important time of exploring, learning, appreciating, and saluting all that Black Americans have done to help build our country.

Ronald Reagan