The White House Blog

Celebrating Black Women in American Culture and History

Last week, President Obama signed a proclamation, declaring February National African American History Month. This year's theme, "Black Women in American Culture and History," specifically recognizes the numerous, unique contributions that African-American women have made to the advancement of the Nation.

Today, the White House released a video message from the First Lady in honor of African-American History Month. In the video, the First Lady said, “You don’t have to be in a history book to make a contribution to our country.”

Mrs. Obama urges others to not only celebrate African-American heroes such as Sojourner Truth and Harriet Tubman, whose contributions to the improvement of the country are depicted in many history books; but to also honor the women of today, “our aunts … our best friends … all those women who live each day with a spirit that is uniquely their own, and who continue to write our country’s story every single day.”

The First Lady’s message includes a challenge, for others to, “reinvest in those around us…and pledge to continue their story by contributing our own gifts for the good of our families, our communities, and our country.” Together, we can be the difference we search for while recognizing there are those around us who have continued to positively contribute to our community.

For additional information and updates on how President Obama and the Administration is celebrating African American History Month please visit www.whitehouse.gov/africanamericans.  

Kevin Lewis is the White House Director of African American Media


Read a transcript of the First Lady's message below:

Hello everyone. It’s a pleasure to be with you as we celebrate African American History Month. This is a time when we honor the rich legacy of African Americans throughout our nation’s history, and this year, our national theme focuses on the unique contributions of African-American women.

They’re heroes like Sojourner Truth … Harriet Tubman … Dorothy Height … Rosa Parks … Maya Angelou. They’re women who fought against slavery … stood up for women’s suffrage … and marched in the streets for our civil rights.  They’ve broken boundaries … stirred our souls … and opened our hearts.

But we all know that you don’t have to be in a history book to make a contribution to our country.  So we’re also celebrating the women we call mom or grandma. We’re celebrating our aunts … our best friends … all those women who live each da with a spirit that is uniquely their own, and who continue to write our country’s story every single day. 

So this month, as we recall all those whose shoulders we stand upon, let’s recommit to living up to their example. Let’s honor them by reinvesting in those around us. And let’s pledge to continue their story by contributing our own gifts for the good of our families, our communities, and our country.