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Attorney General Sessions Delivers Remarks at the 2018 DOJ African American History Month Observance Program


Washington, DC
United States

Remarks as prepared for delivery.

Thank you, Richard for that kind introduction.  Thank you for your leadership at the Equal Employment Opportunity Staff.  And thank you to everyone at EEO for helping the Department live up to our ideals and create a positive and inclusive work environment.

I also want to thank Dr. Burnim, Dr. Grigsby, Dr. Taylor, Jonathan Holifield, and Rebecca for today’s panel discussion on Historically Black Colleges and Universities. 

HBCU alumni have made a big impact on this country, and on this Department.

African-American history is something for all Americans to celebrate, because all of us have benefitted from the achievements of African-Americans.

There are some whose names we know well: Rosa Parks, the Tuskegee Airmen, Frederick Douglass, the Foot Soldiers of Selma, Sojourner Truth, Martin Luther King, Jr. and others.  It is right to celebrate them and give thanks for them.

But there are also many unsung heroes.

Whenever you stop at a traffic light or open a mailbox or use a mop or donate blood or eat a potato chip, you benefit from an invention of an African-American.  Our daily lives—and indeed, the daily lives of millions—are better because of these ideas.

And, of course, in this building, we are especially mindful that African-Americans have often led the way in making our country and our system of laws more just.

That’s not just history—that’s not just the past.  That continues today.

More than 18,000 African-Americans work at this Department—and dozens serve as senior executives. 

I’m told that there are also more than 200 members of the DOJ Association of Black Attorneys, or DOJABA.  These attorneys serve all across America and many of them are alumni of HBCUs like Hampton University, Howard, Morehouse, Spelman, Norfolk State, and North Carolina Central University.

I am thankful for their service and for the contributions that they have made to this Department.

We are proud of these gifted African-American employees who help carry out our mission every day – not just as attorneys, but also as special agents, professional staff and in many other roles.  In your own ways, without fanfare, all of you are writing the next chapters of the great history that we celebrate during this month.

I want to thank you all once again for being here to honor this proud history, and thank you for your service to this Department.

I wish that I could stay for the panel discussion.  I hope that it will help us all to appreciate the role that HBCUs have played in our history, and encourage us to build on that history now.  Thank you.

Updated February 26, 2018