By the President of the United States of America
Americans view with respect and rejoicing the progress and prospects of our more than 100 historically Black colleges and universities. In the past century and more, these institutions have enabled countless students, many of them disadvantaged, to discover and utilize their capabilities and to seize the world of opportunity afforded by higher education. We can be grateful for the alumni of these schools, for their historic contributions, for their continuing achievements, and for the distinction that is theirs in every field of endeavor across our country and around the globe.
We can all be grateful, too, as this observance brings to mind a movement of decisive national significance in which many students and graduates of historically Black colleges and universities played a large role. The courage and witness of thousands of students from these institutions were key components of the civil rights movement. Their words and action sparked America's conscience and helped lead to the ending of legal sanction for racial discrimination and segregation. The spirit and the example of these brave Americans live on today as the work of brotherhood, understanding, equality, justice, and reconciliation continues across our land.
Historically Black colleges and universities now benefit from the broad recognition they have earned and from closer ties with one another, with research centers, and with private enterprise. These institutions have built a base of scholarship and accomplishment that channels a wealth of talent and creativity into the service of the wellbeing of Black Americans and the strength of our entire Nation. On the foundation of emancipation in the aftermath of the Civil War, historically Black colleges have erected an impressive edifice of educational experience and excellence. Their legacy of learning and their sustained success will surely remain a tribute to their students, staffs, graduates, and friends and a blessing for every American in the years to come.
The Congress, by Senate Joint Resolution 290, has designated the week beginning September 25, 1988, as "National Historically Black Colleges Week" and authorized and requested the President to issue a proclamation in observance of this event.
Now, Therefore, I, Ronald Reagan, President of the United States of America, do hereby proclaim the week beginning September 25, 1988, as National Historically Black Colleges Week. I urge all Americans to observe this week with appropriate ceremonies and activities to express our respect and appreciation for the outstanding academic and social accomplishments of our Nation's historically Black institutions of higher learning.
In Witness Whereof, I have hereunto set my hand this twenty-sixth day of September, in the year of our Lord nineteen hundred and eighty-eight, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirteenth.
[Filed with the Office of the Federal Register, 12:02 p.m., September 28, 1988]