January 26, 1982

Afro-American (Black) History Month provides a welcome opportunity for each of us to increase our awareness of the contributions black Americans have made to our nation. This annual observance inspires pride in the rich diversity that has been such a vital part of our country's greatness. We are a people whose strength flows from the unity molded from that diversity. Comprehending fully the meaning and importance of that unity and diversity requires a thorough knowledge of the long record of courage and commitment that has so marked the struggle for justice, freedom, and equality by black Americans. The perseverance and personal sacrifice that have continually aided black Americans in their drive for achievement reflect values that are the very essence of the American spirit.

The Association for the Study of Afro-American Life and History can be justly proud of its many efforts to stimulate general intellectual and scholarly interest in American black history. Furthering our knowledge of black history and development is an important part of the education not only of black Americans but of all Americans, and since 1915 your organization has been a leader in that process.

Understanding our past is the foundation for full participation in the life of our country. For this reason, I commend the deserved attention this month brings to Americans who not only have shaped our history but will be an integral part of our destiny.

Ronald Reagan

Note: The annual observance is sponsored by the Association for the Study of Afro-American Life and History.