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Tuesday, February 12, 2008

PRESIDENT'S CORNER: Bush's Black History Month Ceremony

By Norris McDonald. President Bush had his annual African American History Month ceremony in the East Room of the White House this afternoon. I was delighted to get an invitation and attend this event, which was also attended by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, Secretary of Transportation Alphonso Jackson, and Rev Al Sharpton, among others. President Bush recognized the contributions of Carter G. Woodson, Congressman John Lewis, William Coleman, and Otis Williams. Entertainment was provided by The Temptations, who sang, The Way You Do The Things You Do, Aint Too Proud To Beg, Ball of Confusion, I Wish It Would Rain, Just My Imagination, Papa Was A Rolling Stone, I Can't Get Next To You and My Girl.

I am always impressed that President Bush takes the time to put on a Black History Month program each year. He calls it African American History Month, which is just fine with us. His statement was very powerful and he put emphasis on the noose issue. See excerpt and link to the full statement below:
"For decades, the noose played a central part in a campaign of violence and fear against African Americans. Fathers were dragged from their homes in the dark of the night before the eyes of their terrified children. Summary executions were held by torchlight in front of hateful crowds. In many cases, law enforcement officers responsible for protecting the victims were complicit in their deeds [sic] and their deaths. For generations of African Americans, the noose was more than a tool of murder; it was a tool of intimidation that conveyed a sense of powerlessness to millions.

The era of rampant lynching is a shameful chapter in American history. The noose is not a symbol of prairie justice, but of gross injustice. Displaying one is not a harmless prank. And lynching is not a word to be mentioned in jest. As a civil society, we must understand that noose displays and lynching jokes are deeply offensive. They are wrong. And they have no place in America today." (Full Statement)

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