R 071
2017 -- S 0366
Enacted 02/28/2017

S E N A T E   R E S O L U T I O N

Introduced By: Senators Metts, Quezada, Paiva Weed, Satchell, and P Fogarty
Date Introduced: February 28, 2017

     WHEREAS, Throughout the history of America, truly significant African-American
contributions to the economy, social growth, sciences, and arts in 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 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 articulated a message of change that also gave hope to many; 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 furthermore recognizes and
applauds 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 hereby is authorized and directed to
transmit a duly certified copy of this resolution to the Rhode Island Black Heritage Society.