Message on the Observance of National Afro-American (Black) History Month, February 1983

February 2, 1983

Every American can be grateful to the Association for the Study of Afro-American Life and History for its dedicated efforts to promote both popular and scholarly interest in American black history. From 1915 forward this organization has served to familiarize our citizens with the outstanding contributions of black Americans. Through its work, we as a nation can more fully perceive the meaning of the events that have shaped our destiny.

The observance of Afro-American (Black) History Month affords all of us a fine opportunity to recognize further and to appreciate the role of black Americans in the development of our nation This annual observance promotes heightened awareness of the significant participation of black citizens in every level and aspect of our national life. It is a time when we transcend past struggles for advancement and gratefully acknowledge our rich and valuable diversity. Our heritage lends strength to the fiber of our country.

Understanding black history is fundamental to a thorough comprehension of the full scope and sweep of the American historical experience. By more fully appreciating America's commitment to freedom and justice, we can avoid the mistakes of the past and fulfill the hopes of the future.

Ronald Reagan