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CBC Black History Month Statement

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Washington, February 1, 2023 | comments

WASHINGTON – Today, on the first day of Black History Month, the Chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus, Congressman Steven Horsford (NV-04) issued the following statement on behalf of the 57 Members of the caucus:

”In 2023, we start Black History Month with some great progress. Ketanji Brown Jackson is now the first Black woman to serve on the Supreme Court. Maryland has elected their first Black Governor, Wes Moore. And the NFL’s Super Bowl will have two Black quarterbacks for the first time.

“But we also start the month in an uncomfortable but familiar territory. The nation is reeling from the recent tragic death of Tyre Nichols at the hand of local police officers. In Florida, and in many other states, teachers are being restricted from talking about certain topics in Black history, and high school students are being held back from earning college credits by taking AP Black History classes. The ability for some of our children to learn about history makers like Frederick Douglass, Rosa Parks, Martin Luther King Jr., Shirley Chisholm, Dorothy Height, Bessie Coleman, Marsha P. Johnson, Ruby Bridges, Mae Jemison, Audre Lorde, and John Lewis, is being limited by a political agenda that seeks to erase the struggles and truth of the Black experience in America.

“That effort to block the learning of Black history in America is an attempt to sweep under the rug the facts we know about the grim aspects of the story of our nation. Despite those efforts we know that Black history runs 365 days a year, and educators should not be censored from sharing our history. From the genocide of Native Americans to the arrival of the first slaves from Africa in the British colony of Virginia, and our experience every day since, the treatment of our people as disposable property is a story that must be told. People must know that the Civil War was fought for one simple reason – the ending of slavery in our nation. And people must know about the rise of Black Americans who were recently freed slaves, with many succeeding in business and politics in the wake of the Civil War – and they must learn about the Jim Crow era that erased that progress and subjugated Black Americans to segregation and a 2nd class citizenship.

“In 1870, Senator Hiram Revels of Mississippi and Congressman Joseph Rainey of South Carolina came to Congress and were the first Black men to serve. In 1971 during the 92nd Congress, the Congressional Black Caucus was formed by 13 founding members, including the first Black woman to serve in Congress and to run for President, Shirley Chisholm.

“In 2023, we will have the largest number of African Americans serving in Congress at one time in history. And we have elected the first Black party leader, who will be the first African American Speaker in our nation’s history. Together, we will continue to fight for our communities, by expanding and preserving voting rights, advocating for the end of bad policing while keeping our communities safe, and expanding economic growth and opportunity for Black communities.”


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