Mr. Speaker, Black History Month is a time when we remember the contributions of the people of African descent not only to this country but to the world. We remember the great works of the men and women of the arts and letters, such as Joseph Boulogne and Alexandre Dumas. We remember Ira Aldridge, Josephine Baker, Lorraine Hansberry, and Oscar Peterson. We celebrate Djanet Sears, Dany Laferrière, Austin Clarke, and Oliver Jones.
The men and women of science include Booker T. Washington, Rebecca Cole, Dr. Charles Drew, and Dr. Anderson Ruffin Abbott. We salute the pioneers who helped to build this new world, including Mathieu Da Costa, Jean-Baptiste Point du Sable, the loyalist settlers of Nova Scotia, and the settlers of Amber Valley and Salt Spring Island.
This is a small fraction of a vast history, but why is it important? It is important because by exploring our history, we begin to know ourselves.
To those not of the hue, I offer this. Knowing our history is for others to know their own, because our histories bind us. Black History Month is not simply the history of a people; it is part of the collective history of the world.