The White House is hosting a number of events to celebrate how the African American experience has shaped and ultimately strengthened America.
"Our responsibility as citizens is to address the inequalities and injustices that linger, and we must secure our birthright freedoms for all people. As we mark the 40th year of National African American History Month, let us reflect on the sacrifices and contributions made by generations of African Americans, and let us resolve to continue our march toward a day when every person knows the unalienable rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness."
Throughout February, the White House is hosting events to celebrate African Americans, past and present, who have shaped and strengthened our nation. Check out some of the highlights so far, and stay tuned for more Black History Month events to come.
Celebrating African American Women in Dance
On February 8th, First Lady Michelle Obama hosted a day-long dance workshop for local students to highlight the contributions African American women have made to dance. The students were joined by iconic leaders in dance, including Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater’s Judith Jamison, Debbie Allen, the Dance Theatre of Harlem’s Virginia Johnson, and Hip-Hop choreographer Fatima Robinson. Each of these women have played a pivotal role in shaping the landscape of African American women and girls in dance. You can watch the workshop and performance here.
Girls and Gigabytes: Expanding Opportunity for African American Women in STEM
The White House brought together 150 middle- and high school-aged girls from across 15 states for a day of mentoring, panels, and workshops on STEM topics. As part of initiatives surrounding Black History Month, the event aimed to inspire African American girls, and make clear that they have access to educational opportunities and careers in STEM. Learn more about Girls and Gigabytes.
Intergenerational Civil Rights Leaders Meeting
President Obama met with a group of civil rights leaders to discuss a range of issues including the Administration’s efforts on criminal justice reform, building trust between law enforcement and the communities they serve, and the President’s priorities during his final year in office. The meeting was the first of its kind as the President convened leaders who represent different generations of civil rights leaders.
Black History Month Reception
The President and the First Lady hosted the annual Black History Month Reception at the White House.
Virginia McLaurin Meets the President and the First Lady
What's the secret to still dancing at 106? Watch 106-year-old Virginia McLaurin fulfill her dream of visiting the White House and meeting President Obama and the First Lady.
As part of the "In Performance at the White House" series, the President and First Lady invited top contemporary artists to the White House to help celebrate the iconic singer, songwriter, composer, and musician Ray Charles. Previous "In Performance at the White House" concerts have marked Black History Month by featuring the music of Motown, Memphis Soul, the Blues, and from the Civil Rights Movement.
Ahead of the evening's concert, President Obama paid tribute to the influential musician: "No matter the feeling -- whether it was love, longing, or loss -- Ray Charles had the rare ability to collapse our weightiest emotions into a single note. And from the tiny clubs in which he started out to the arenas that he eventually filled, Ray was an electrifying performer. He couldn’t see us, but we couldn’t take our eyes off of him."
Stay tuned for more Black History Month highlights.