For Immediate Release Office of the Press Secretary March 29, 2007
President Bush Participates in Congressional Gold Medal Ceremony Honoring the Tuskegee Airmen United States Capitol 2:23 P.M. EDT
THE PRESIDENT: Thank you all. Please be seated. Thank you. Madam Speaker, Mr. Leader, members of Congress, Secretary Powell, distinguished guests: You know, the Speaker and I had the honor of having our picture taken with you, and as I walked into the rotunda, a place that occasionally I get invited up here and I walk into, I was impressed by the fact that I wasn't amongst heroes who were statues. I was impressed that I was amongst heroes who still live. (Applause.) I thank you for the honor you have brought to our country. And the medal you're about to receive means our country honors you, and rightly so.
I want to thank Senator Carl Levin and Sergeant Rangel. (Laughter.) Excuse me, Mr. Chairman. (Applause.) I thank you for your leadership on this issue. I have a strong interest in World War II airmen. I was raised by one. He flew with a group of brave young men who endured difficult times in the defense of our country. Yet for all they sacrificed and all they lost, in a way, they were very fortunate, because they never had the burden of having their every mission, their every success, their every failure viewed through the color of their skin. Nobody told them they were a credit to their race. Nobody refused to return their salutes. Nobody expected them to bear the daily humiliations while wearing the uniform of their country.
It was different for the men in this room. When America entered World War II, it might have been easy for them to do little for our country. After all, the country didn't do much for them. Even the Nazis asked why African American men would fight for a country that treated them so unfairly. Yet the Tuskegee airmen were eager to join up.
You know, I'm interested in the story about a young man who was so worried that the Army might change its mind about allowing him to fly, that he drove immediately to the train station. He left his car, as well as $1,000 worth of photography equipment. He never saw his car, he never saw his camera, but he became a flyer.
These men in our presence felt a special sense of urgency. They were fighting two wars: One was in Europe, and the other took place in the hearts and minds of our citizens. That's why we're here. The white commander of the Tuskegee airfield was once asked -- with all seriousness -- how do African Americans fly? -- reflecting the ignorance of the times, they said, how do African Americans fly? He said, "Oh, they fly just like everybody else flies -- stick and rudder." Soon, Americans in their kitchens and living rooms were reading the headlines. You probably didn't realize it at the time, but you were making headlines at home, headlines that spoke about daring pilots winning a common battle.
And little by little, every victory at war was translated to a victory here in the United States. And we're in the presence of men who are earning those victories, important victories, leaders who pierced the unquestioned prejudices of a different society. You gave African Americans a sense of pride and possibility.
You saw that pride and awe, I'm sure you remember, in the faces of young children who came up to you right after the war and tugged and your uniforms and said, "Mister, can you really fly an airplane?" Some of you have been in Germany and Iraq, and you still see that sense of pride.
I appreciate your going. I appreciate the fact that one of our young soldiers today took pictures for -- of you for a scrapbook for his children. I appreciate the fact that one of our soldiers today said, "It's not often that you get a chance to meet the guys who have paved the path for you." (Applause.)
The Tuskegee Airmen helped win a war, and you helped change our nation for the better. Yours is the story of the human spirit, and it ends like all great stories do -- with wisdom and lessons and hope for tomorrow. And the medal that we confer today means that we're doing a small part to ensure that your story will be told and honored for generations to come. (Applause.)
And I would like to offer a gesture to help atone for all the unreturned salutes and unforgivable indignities. And so, on behalf of the office I hold, and a country that honors you, I salute you for the service to the United States of America. (Applause.)
(The Congressional Gold Medal is conferred.) (Applause.) END 2:34 P.M. EDT
President Bush Participates in Congressional Gold Medal Ceremony for the Tuskegee Airmen
"The Tuskegee Airmen helped win a war, and you helped change our nation for the better. Yours is the story of the human spirit, and it ends like all great stories do -- with wisdom and lessons and hope for tomorrow. And the medal that we confer today means that we're doing a small part to ensure that your story will be told and honored for generations to come. "
President Bush Celebrates African American History Month
"The theme of this year's African American History Month is, "From Slavery to Freedom: Africans in the Americas." ... In America, their first real hope of freedom came on New Year's Day in 1863, when President Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation in a room right upstairs. The heroes of the civil rights movement continued the struggle for freedom. And by their courage, they changed laws and opened up the promise for millions of our citizens. .. Today, African Americans are seizing opportunities gained at great price, and they're making their mark in this wonderful country in countless ways. We see their character and achievement in the neighborhoods across our nation, and we see it right here in this room -- right here in the White House."
- President George W. Bush February 12, 2007
National African American History Month, 2007
"With grace and determination, African-American men and women have shaped our Nation and influenced American life. Frederick Douglass, W.E.B. DuBois, Rosa Parks, and Martin Luther King, Jr., advanced the cause of civil rights for all Americans and helped change the course of American history. Educators Booker T. Washington and Carter G. Woodson helped break down racial barriers in education to provide opportunity for all people. Americans have benefited from the achievements of scientists like George Washington Carver. Artists such as Pearl Bailey, Ella Fitzgerald, and Louis Armstrong inspired Americans and created some of the most celebrated music this Nation has ever produced."
- President George W. Bush January 26, 2007
President Bush Participates in Volunteer Service Event on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day
"One of the things that Mrs. King wanted was for MLK Day to be a day of service. It is not a day off, but it's a day on. ... I encourage people all around the country to seize any opportunity they can to help somebody in need. And by helping somebody in need, you're honoring the legacy of Martin Luther King."
- President George W. Bush January 15, 2007
President Bush Attends Ceremonial Groundbreaking of the Martin Luther King, Jr. National Memorial
"We have gathered in tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King, to the ideals he held and to the life he lived. Dr. King showed us that a life of conscience and purpose can lift up many souls. And on this ground, a monument will rise that preserves his legacy for the ages. Honoring Dr. King's legacy requires more than building a monument; it required the ongoing commitment of every American. So we will continue to work for the day when the dignity and humanity of every person is respected, and the American promise is denied no one."
- President George W. Bush November 13, 2006
President Bush Signs H.R. 9, The Fannie Lou Hamer, Rosa Parks, And Coretta Scott King Voting Rights Act Reauthorization And Amendments Act Of 2006
"In four decades since the Voting Rights Act was first passed, we've made progress toward equality, yet the work for a more perfect union is never ending. We'll continue to build on the legal equality won by the civil rights movement to help ensure that every person enjoys the opportunity that this great land of liberty offers. And that means a decent education and a good school for every child, a chance to own their own home or business, and the hope that comes from knowing that you can rise in our society by hard work and God-given talents."
- President George W. Bush July 27, 2006
Fact Sheet: Voting Rights Act Reauthorization and Amendments Act of 2006
On July 27, 2006, The President Signed Into Law The Fannie Lou Hamer, Rosa Parks, And Coretta Scott King Voting Rights Act Reauthorization And Amendments Act Of 2006. The Voting Rights Act of 1965 (VRA) was designed to restore the birthright of every American - the right to choose our leaders. It has been vital to guaranteeing the right to vote for generations of Americans and has helped millions of our citizens enjoy the full promise of freedom.
In Signing This Bill, President Bush Honored The Memory Of Three Women Who Devoted Their Lives To The Struggle For Civil Rights - Fannie Lou Hamer, Rosa Parks, And Coretta Scott King. The Voting Rights Act Reauthorization and Amendments Act of 2006 was named in honor of these three American heroes.
The Voting Rights Act Reauthorization And Amendments Act Of 2006 Reaffirms A Commitment To Enforce The Right To Vote For All Americans
The Voting Rights Act Reauthorization And Amendments Act Of 2006 Extends The VRA For 25 Years, Extending:
The prohibition against the use of tests or devices to deny the right to vote in any Federal, State, or local election; and
The requirement for certain States and local governments to provide voting materials in multiple languages.
The New Law Also Amends The VRA With Regard To:
The use of election examiners and observers;
Voting qualifications or standards intended to diminish, or with the effect of diminishing, the ability of U.S. citizens on account of race or color to elect preferred candidates; and
Award of attorney fees in enforcement proceedings to include expert fees and other reasonable costs of litigation.
The President Has Committed His Administration To Vigorously Enforce The Provisions Of This Law And To Defend It In Court. The President will also continue to work with Congress to ensure that our country lives up to our guiding principle that all men and women are created equal.
The Administration Will Continue To Build On The Legacy Of The Civil Rights Movement To Help Ensure That Every Child Enjoys The Opportunities America Offers. These opportunities include the right to a decent education in a good school, the chance to own a home or small business, and the hope that comes from knowing you can rise in our society through hard work and using your talents.
History Of The Voting Rights Act Of 1965
In March 1965, African Americans Marched Across The Edmund Pettus Bridge In Selma, Alabama, To Protest The Unfair And Racist Practices That Kept Them Off The Voter Rolls.
When The Marchers Reached The Far Side Of The Bridge, They Were Met By State Troopers And A Civilian Posse Bearing Tear Gas, Billy Clubs, And Whips. This group brutally attacked the peacefully protesting men, women, and children.
One Week After The Selma Incident, President Johnson Announced That He Planned To Submit Legislation That Would Bring African Americans Into The Civic Life Of Our Nation.
Five Months After Selma, President Johnson Signed The Voting Rights Act Into Law. For some parts of our country, the Voting Rights Act marked the first appearance of African Americans on the voting rolls since Reconstruction following the Civil War.
BLACK History !
The 13th, 14th and 15th Amendment of the Constitution of The United States of
America is dedicated to the success of a free people, guaranteeing the freedoms
the Constitution has to offer for former slaves of this nation. Check it out! Discuss
it and speak about it. The 16th President didn't die for nothing.
BOOKER T. WASHINGTON. Born June 27th, 1859.
Believed that learning a trade meant economic survival for the black family. This was, he
believed the Quickest way to move most blacks out of poverty. In 1881, he was asked to
head up the black Tuskegee Institute. A vocational training institute that went from a
little Church run school to a great learning institution. He also financed some of the
earliest court cases against segregation and founded the National Negro Business League.
Robert Tanner is the first African American to receive a degree in dentistry. Feb. 6th, 1867.
Joseph Searles is the first African American to become a member of
The New York Stock Exchange. February 13th, 1970.
Carter G. Woodson fought for Negro History Week which was observed for the 1st time on
February 7th, 1926.
Oprah Winfrey is the 1st African American woman to host a nationally syndicated talk show
on February 8th, 1986.
Bill Pickett was a wild west star. Born 1870, Died 1932. 1971 became the first African
American to be inducted into the Rodeo Hall of Fame.
Ida B. Wells, Born 1862, Died 1931. Published Southern Horrors, and The Red Record,
1st statistical study of lynching. She fought for equality for blacks and women.
Helped organize NAACP. TEACHER, JOUNALIST, WRITER, ACTIVIST! Amazing women.
Henry O. Tanner, Intewrnational Artist, born 1859, died 1937. Moved to France where he
became famous and was awarded the French Legion of Honor. First African American to
have full membership in the National Academy of Art and Design. Noted for Painted biblical
stories and landscapes.
Only a few good people you should know!
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