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Friday, March 24, 2023

Biden: African-American history matters

President Biden on Monday hailed the contribution of African Americans to the creation of the United States at an event marking Black History Month.

“History matters, and African American history matters,” Biden said, addressing African American congressmen and government officials. Americans “can’t just choose … what we want to know,” Biden said. They need to know “what is good, what is bad, what is true and who we are as a nation,” he said.

His remarks in the East Room of the White House came at a time when some conservative Republicans, including Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, are pushing for a change in the way Black American history is taught in American schools. DeSantis is a potential Republican candidate for president in 2024.

Florida is also one of about 18 US states that have banned the teaching of critical race theory, a sociological concept that explores systemic racism, in recent years.

“As a nation, we will not build a better future for America by trying to erase America’s past,” Vice President Kamala Harris said ahead of Biden’s speech.

Last week, Biden brought together the families of those killed in hate crimes for a screening of Till, a film about Emmett Till, a 14-year-old black boy whose 1955 murder inspired the civil rights movement.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau in 2021, about 50 million Americans, or about 15% of the U.S. population, identify as “exclusively African American” or “of another race.”

Past presidents have often used Black History Month to celebrate broken promises made to black Americans.

In a 1986 proclamation, Ronald Reagan declared the month a holiday, stating that “the American experience and character cannot be fully understood until knowledge of African-American history takes its rightful place. in our schools and studies.

Many Americans are “fighting,” as Reagan noted, “for the full and unfettered recognition of the constitutional rights of all.”

Noting the theme of historian Carter Woodson’s 2008 celebration and the origins of multiculturalism, then-President George W. Bush said in his speech, “Our nation is now stronger and more full of hope because generations of leaders like (Woodson) have worked to help America fulfill its promise of equality and the great truth that all of God’s children are created equal.”

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