Black History Monthby Former Representative Joe Garcia
Posted on 2013-02-28
in the house of representatives
Thursday, February 28, 2013
Mr. GARCIA. Mr. Speaker, I rise today in observance of Black History
Month--an opportunity to celebrate the rich legacy of African-Americans
and the many ways they have shaped our Nation's history.
This Black History Month, we commemorate two landmark anniversaries in American history: the 150th anniversary of Emancipation Proclamation and the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington. Separated by a century, these two seminal events underscore what the Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr., once said--that ``the arc of the moral universe is long but it bends towards justice.'' Each successive generation of Americans must always do their part to build on the progress of those who came before them in order to advance the ideals of freedom and equality upon which our Nation was founded.
In South Florida, we have benefited tremendously from trailblazing African-American leaders who have broken through color barriers in order to contribute to our communities and our country.
They include individuals who served our country bravely, including Lt. Col. Eldridge Williams--one of the legendary Tuskegee airman--and Col. Brodes Hartley Jr., who has been a leading civil rights leader in South Florida committed to improving quality health care access for low-income families. And also Reverend John A. Ferguson, who after serving in the Navy helped found a small congregation in Richmond Heights that would grow to nearly 800 under his leadership and today stands at over 1400.
They include leaders like Al Dotson Sr., a pastor who served as the first elected African American president of the Orange Bowl Committee and the Chairman of the Board of Trustees for Florida International University, as well as Mayor Otis Wallace, who has served Florida City as mayor for over twenty-eight years and is today the longest serving elected official in the State of Florida.
I could name so many others. South Florida is a better place because of their commitment to public service and their strong leadership.