Message on the Observance of National Afro-American (Black) History Month, February 1981
February 2, 1981
All Americans can be proud of the accomplishments and goals of the Association for the Study of Afro-American Life and History. Knowledge of our past is one of our most treasured possessions, for only with an accurate picture of where we have been can we see where we must go.
The observance of Afro-American (Black) History Month serves to focus national attention on an endeavor of awareness that should follow us throughout the year. Understanding the history of black Americans is a key to understanding the strength of our nation. Their struggles, achievements and perseverance help us understand the moral fiber of America and our commitment to freedom, equality and justice.
This month's theme of "Black History: Role Model for Youth" goes to the very heart of our best hope for the future of our nation. We will hand to the youth of this nation the responsibility of preserving our heritage for future generations. The minds being shaped today in classrooms around the country must be fully enriched. The achievements and courage of individuals provide an inspiring example of the essence of the American spirit.
I urge all Americans, particularly those in our schools and civic groups, to study our history and incorporate in their activities projects to help us all understand those individuals who played so great a part in our development. We must ensure that the gains of the past are not lost in the future, and in so doing we can look to tomorrow with confidence.