2014 -- H 7709

Enacted 02/27/14


H O U S E   R E S O L U T I O N


Introduced By: Representatives Williams, Shekarchi, Hull, Tanzi, and Almeida

Date Introduced: February 27, 2014


WHEREAS, Throughout the 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; and 

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 descent 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, 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 trailblazers before him, President Barack Obama has articulated a message of change that has given hope for a truly united nation; now, therefore be it

RESOLVED, That this House of Representatives 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.