WASHINGTON, D.C. – Senator Rob Portman issued the following statement in honor of Black History Month today:

“While we have come far in the fight for civil rights and equality in this country, there is more to do.  Ohio has its own rich African American heritage; many have sacrificed to make our state and country better,” said Senator Portman. 

Portman noted Ohio’s African American history includes the likes of John Parker, a former slave, inventor and famous conductor for the Ohio underground railroad; George Washington Williams, the first African American member of the Ohio House of Representatives from the Cincinnati area;  Jesse Owens, a track and field athlete whose participation in the 1936 Summer Olympics in Berlin broke barriers; Nancy Wilson, a Grammy Award winning singer; Halle Berry, Oscar Award winning actress; and Archie Griffin, a two-time Heisman Trophy winner. 

“While I am proud each February to honor African-Americans for the tremendous role they have played in shaping our society, let us remember the struggle and pursuit of freedom throughout the whole year, not simply during Black History Month.”

Senator Portman also issued a proclamation today in honor of Black History Month.  You can read the whole proclamation below:

Black History Month Proclamation

WHEREAS, Black History Month is a time for Americans to pay tribute to the rich heritage of African Americans, and to reflect upon the lessons and stories of those who have made tremendous sacrifices and committed themselves to achieving equality and civil rights.

WHEREAS, our nation is built upon the strong foundations of so many cultural experiences that create our shared history.

WHEREAS the stories that we celebrate and spotlight during the month of February demonstrate the foresight, courage and legacy of leadership that African Americans have given us throughout history that have strengthened our democracy.

WHEREAS, throughout our short history, the struggle and pursuit of freedom, and the power and strength of African Americans, has ensured breadth and diversity of experience so that we can succeed and continue our efforts toward the realization of the promise of our nation, and health and prosperity for all.

Therefore, we honor the celebration of Black History Month, and the important lessons of the African American experience, as we continue to strive for freedom and equality and a better tomorrow.