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Celebrating Black History Month 2011

Associate Director for African American Outreach Michael Blake wraps up Black History Month 2011.

When Carter G. Woodson envisioned that a week be set aside to celebrate African Americans, he laid the marker to commemorate the contributions and embrace the legacy of our Nation’s history. In celebration of Black History Month, we honored the courage and contributions of those that came before us and highlighted the work of today’s leaders by featuring some of the ways that the Obama Administration is empowering communities across America -- not just this month, but all year.

Every day, featured a guest blog post from African Americans in the Obama Administration whose work is contributing to the President’s goals for winning the future. From major public officials like Attorney General Eric Holder and EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson, to the staffers and advisors who form the backbone of the Executive Branch, their stories came from every corner of the country, but are tied together by the common thread of service and dedication to moving America forward.

Last week, the President and First Lady continued the celebration of Black History Month -- hosting Motown legends Smokey Robinson and Berry Gordy, as well as contemporary musicians, including John Legend and Jamie Foxx -- for a celebration of the Motown Sound. The First Lady invited students from cities around the country for a workshop on the legacy of Motown and its historical impact.

White House staff and interns joined Howard University business students for a mentorship event with Operation HOPE, a community based organization that encourages entrepreneurship and financial literacy to young people in underserved communities.

The First Family hosted a screenings of the HBO film Thurgood, about the life of civil rights icon Thurgood Marshall whose impact continues to open up doors otherwise unattainable.

Furthering this year’s Black History Month, African Americans and the Civil War, Senior Advisor Valerie Jarrett honored our veterans with touching remarks at the Association for the Study of African American Life & History luncheon.

African Americans have been an integral part of the American story. Inventors and innovators have made streets safer and lights brighter. Authors and playwrights have left an indelible mark across generations of American literature. Black History Month is a time not to highlight differences, but to celebrate the contributions to our common history.

As the Associate Director for African American Outreach it is with a sense of humility and appreciation that this young kid from the Bronx, whose mom was once homeless and beat breast cancer and whose dad cleaned emergency rooms for 29 years, is able to go from no house to The White House and more honored to have the opportunity to open up The White House to more of its residents – you.