For over 35 years, February has served as African American History Month. As a nation we celebrate the accomplishments of influential people of color such as Shirley Chisholm, who became the first African American woman elected to Congress, and Colin Powell, who became the first African American Secretary of State1 . The strength and courage they showed in the face of appalling discrimination is truly an inspiration.
While these historical figures still inspire us, African Americans today continue to break down barriers and make history. Nearly eight years ago, President Barack Obama became the first African American man to be elected President of the United States. As his presidency comes to an end, the legacy he leaves behind will continue to inspire future generations. When children of color turn to the back of their history textbooks they will be able to see a leader of the free world that looks like them.
Throughout our nations history, we have seen African Americans rise, breaking through barriers that limited freedom, education and wealth. African American History Month is a time to honor their perseverance and strength. Its a time that we as a culture teach our youth about how African American history has influenced not only American history but world history as well. As we celebrate this year, its important to recognize that the fight for equality is not over. New York will continue to lead the way to ensure justice and equality for all.
1. The African American People: A Global History By Molefi Kete Asante