WASHINGTON, DC - Every U.S. President since 1976 has officially designated the month of February as Black History month to celebrate the achievements and the contributions made to our country by African Americans. The annual recognition of black history in America stems from the work of historian Carter G. Woodson who in 1926 collaborated with schools and programs to study the rich history of African Americans. Congresswoman Jackie Speier issued the following statement to celebrate Black History Month:

“Celebrating black history month is an opportunity for our country to honor the significant contributions made by African Americans to the greatness of our nation. I applaud the unique accomplishments in leadership, intellect, and artistic expression that African Americans have made in the face of historic racial and economic adversity. They have surmounted unfathomable challenges, and provide a necessary example for people around the world who continue to be marginalized.

“Last week I was proud and honored when my Buffalo Soldiers bill passed the House of Representatives. The legislation honors the achievements and legacy of the African American soldiers who, during the late 19th and early 20th centuries, helped protect and improve Sequoia and Yosemite prior to the establishment of the National Park System. Named Buffalo Soldiers by local Native American tribes for their dark skin and curly hair, the men made an annual 320 mile trek from the Presidio down El Camino Real through my district in San Mateo County.

“I am privileged to help enshrine in our nation’s history the story of brave African American soldiers who worked tirelessly to protect the natural resources and beauty of our country during a time of significant racial tension.”