This week, Vice President Biden and Dr. Biden hosted their third annual Black History Month reception at the Naval Observatory. More than 140 guests were in attendance, including Attorney General Eric Holder, U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk, and EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson, as well as members of the Congressional Black Caucus, the National Black Caucus of State Legislators, the National Conference of Black Mayors and the National Organization of Black County Officials.
In addition to hearing from the Vice President, Dr. Biden and civil rights leader Congressman John Lewis, guests had the opportunity to see a collection of photos from the Delaware Historical Society’s special exhibit, Wilmington in the 1930s: Focus on the East Side. Henry Szymanski, Sr.’s collection provides a rare Depression-era glimpse into the daily lives of people living in the city’s East side community.
The Vice President shared the struggles and barriers he witnessed growing up in Wilmington, Delaware and later as a public defender, and U.S. Senator, telling the group that when he was asked at the age of 29 why he ran for the Senate, he had one answer – civil rights.
Describing how Black History Month is a celebration of the struggles and accomplishments of African Americans, he noted that many of the guests “have created and lived through the most fundamental, dynamic change in the entirety of the history of African Americans in the United States.”