February 21, 2013

Dear Friends,

In 1976, by an act of Congress, Black History Week, which traditionally occurred during the second week of February, was expanded to African American History Month. February is a both a celebration of African American culture and a time for reflection on the ongoing march for true equality for people of every race and creed.

This month we also celebrated the 100th birthday of one of America’s greatest heroines, Rosa Parks. In 1955, Rosa Parks challenged the racial status quo by refusing to sit in the back of a Montgomery public transit bus. Her actions helped start the Montgomery Bus Boycott and inspired millions to join the Civil Rights Movement.

Below are some resources to further our understanding of both Rosa Parks as a civil rights activist and the significance of African American History Month.
  • At the time of her protest, Rosa Parks was working as a secretary at the Montgomery NAACP Chapter. To learn more about Rosa Parks and the Montgomery Bus Boycott click here.

  • Rosa Parks is the recipient of the NAACP’s Springarn Medal, the Presidential Medal of Freedom and the Congressional Gold Medal. After her passing in 2005, Rosa Parks was selected as the first woman to lie in honor in the Capitol Rotunda. A copy of the bill signed by Congress adding Rosa Parks to the National Statutory Hall can be viewed here.

  • To learn more about the celebration of African American culture and the story of African American History Month, visit the African American History month website.

  • Through an executive order, President Barack Obama announced the theme of this year’s African American History Month will be “Celebrating Black Women in American Culture and History”. Watch First Lady Michelle Obama discuss the importance of celebrating African American women here.
Rosa Parks will forever remain an American hero. We honor her for her dedication to the pursuit of justice and equality. This month, we celebrate her and the history and culture of African Americans around the country so that we may be reminded of the progress we have made, and the distance we have left to travel.

Your friend,

Richard Neal
U.S. Congressman

Washington Office: 2208 Rayburn House Office Building • Washington, DC 20515 (202) 225-5601
Pittsfield Office: 78 Center Street • Pittsfield, MA 01201 (413) 442-0946
Springfield Office: 300 State Street, Suite 200 • Springfield, MA 01105 (413) 785-0325

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