2009 -- S 0665

Enacted 02/26/09


S E N A T E  R E S O L U T I O N





     Introduced By: Senators Metts, Paiva-Weed, Jabour, Pichardo, and Perry

     Date Introduced: February 26, 2009



     WHEREAS, Throughout the colonial history of America, truly significant African-

American contributions to the economy, social growth, sciences and arts of this great nation have

all too often been ignored. In recognition of this plethora of major accomplishments made by men

and women of African ancestry, the month of February is celebrated as "Black History Month"

across the nation; and

     WHEREAS, African-Americans were first brought to America forcibly. They were

enslaved, faced inhuman cruelty and were subjected to injustices beyond understanding. Families

were torn apart, lynching went unpunished, and segregation and denial of fundamental

constitutional rights and protections went on for decades; and

     WHEREAS, Though these men and women suffered immense tragedies and social

inequalities, they also persevered, and their triumphs and contributions to the economic, artistic,

literary, scientific and technological advancement of our country are significant and momentous;


     WHEREAS, African-Americans have been an integral part of Rhode Island's social,

political and economic development from its beginning as a British colony, to its inclusion in the

formation of the United States, to the rich diversity of today's Ocean State; and

     WHEREAS, From the initial shots fired in the struggle for American Independence, to

the Rhode Island 1st Black Regiment's Battle of Newport, to the garrisons of the Rhode Island 14th

Heavy Artillery Regiment (Colored) in 1863, Americans of African decent have responded to the

call of duty; and

     WHEREAS, In recognition of the numerous positive and patriotic contributions of

African-American Rhode Islanders in the United States military, we honor their legacy of

bravery, honor, and sacrifice. From the earliest recordation of Black History in our State,

including those of slaves, former slaves, and free men, African-Americans have served with pride

to protect our vital interests and provide for our common defense; and

     WHEREAS, Structures in the City of Newport, such as the Brick Market, later used as

the town hall and theater; the Old Colony House which at one time served Rhode Island as its

capitol; and the oldest library in America, the Redwood Library, stand as lasting and beautiful

tributes to the African-Americans who lived in our state and played a major role in the

construction of these magnificent historic structures; and

     WHEREAS, The United States and particularly the State of Rhode Island owe a debt of

gratitude to our African-American citizens and their forefathers, whose documented

achievements have too long gone unrecognized; and

     WHEREAS, Men such as civil rights leader Jesse Jackson, who sought the Democratic

presidential nomination in 1984 and 1988, opened the doors to a new generation of African-

American politicians; and

     WHEREAS, This year’s celebration of “Black History Month” holds a special place in

the hearts and minds of all Americans. Men such as civil rights leader Jesse Jackson, who sought

the Democratic presidential nomination in 1984 and 1988, opened the doors to a new generation

of African American political leaders. Standing on the shoulders of men like the Jesse Jackson,

Barack Obama’s candidacy for President of the United States has resonated and manifested itself

into a complete success. President Elect Barack Obama’s message of change has given hope for a

truly united nation; now, therefore be it

     RESOLVED, That this Senate of the State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations

hereby proudly proclaims February as "Black History Month," and we further recognize and

applaud the sacrifices and myriad of contributions made by African-American men and women

throughout this great nation's history; and be it further

     RESOLVED, That the Secretary of State be and he hereby is authorized and directed to

transmit a duly certified copy of this resolution to the Rhode Island Black Heritage Society.