Weekly Compilation of Presidential Documents, 1994

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Author: William J. Clinton  | Date: February 4, 1994

Statement on the Observance of National African-American History Month,
February 4, 1994

I want to extend my greetings to all of you who are celebrating African-American History Month during this important time of renewal and reflection for our country.

America was founded on the principle that we’re all created equal, and this solemn commitment to tolerance and freedom must continue to bind us as a nation. Our diverse culture enriches and broadens the American experience of which African-American heritage is an inseparable part. It weaves throughout our country’s history, profoundly influencing every aspect of our national life.

We’ve come a long way since the days when white-only and colored-only signs disfigured our country’s landscape and demeaned too many of our citizens. African-Americans have made great strides in recent years, commanding leadership positions in the public and private sectors in record numbers. Opportunities for education advancement, election, and mobility continue to expand among black Americans, and our country’s moving ever closer to fulfilling its fundamental promise of equality for all.

Yet the truth is, many problems continue to plague our communities, tarnishing that ideal of equality because they affect African-Americans more adversely than the rest of us. The poverty, the drugs, the violence that afflict too many of our people in our communities, of all races and backgrounds, have severely harmed black children, women, and men, threatening our vision of a better world.

Throughout this month, we look to the lessons of our past for solutions to these crises, in the hope of building a brighter world for the future. Many such solutions can be found in the rich history of the African-American people. The speeches of Martin Luther King and Malcolm X, the writings of W.E.B. Du Bois, Frederick Douglass, Sojourner Truth, the powerful literature of Toni Morrison, Richard Wright, Alice Walker, and so many others explore the difficulties and the joys that pervade the African-American experience.

By rediscovering and celebrating this wealth of history, we can draw strength from the successes of these great leaders and determination from their example for the hard work in the days ahead to forge a new era of healing and hope. As we continually strive to embrace the talent and creativity of all our Nation’s people, I want to give my best wishes to all of you for an exciting, productive, and renewing month.

Note: This item was not received in time for publication in the appropriate issue.

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Chicago: William J. Clinton, "Statement on the Observance of National African-American History Month, February 4, 1994," Weekly Compilation of Presidential Documents, 1994 in United States. Executive Office of the President, Weekly Compilation of Presidential Documents, Week Ending Friday, February 11, 1994 (Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1995), Vol. 30 Original Sources, accessed July 2, 2022, http://www.originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=ZN8UEE5DF7PERYT.

MLA: Clinton, William J. "Statement on the Observance of National African-American History Month, February 4, 1994." Weekly Compilation of Presidential Documents, 1994, in United States. Executive Office of the President, Weekly Compilation of Presidential Documents, Week Ending Friday, February 11, 1994 (Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1995), Vol. 30, Original Sources. 2 Jul. 2022. http://www.originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=ZN8UEE5DF7PERYT.

Harvard: Clinton, WJ, 'Statement on the Observance of National African-American History Month, February 4, 1994' in Weekly Compilation of Presidential Documents, 1994. cited in , United States. Executive Office of the President, Weekly Compilation of Presidential Documents, Week Ending Friday, February 11, 1994 (Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1995), Vol. 30. Original Sources, retrieved 2 July 2022, from http://www.originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=ZN8UEE5DF7PERYT.