Statement from Director Aaron S. Williams on African American History Month

February 1, 2010

Washington, D.C., February 1, 2010—"I am pleased to recognize February 2010 as National African American History Month at the Peace Corps.

"Ever since Dr. Carter G. Woodson first sought to illuminate the African-American experience more than 80 years ago, each February we reflect on the accomplishments and contributions of this community to our nation.

"The theme for this years observance is 'The History of Black Economic Empowerment,' honoring a multiracial group of Americans who joined together to form the National Urban League. When African-American immigrants began moving into large cities, the National Urban League was established to address the needs of this growing population. As time progressed, the National Urban League became a voice of advocacy for civil rights and economic empowerment for the entire African-American community.

"From the earliest days of the Peace Corps, our agency and our nation have greatly benefited from the legacy created by the civil rights movement. In a continuation of this legacy, African Americans, who in their service as staff and/or Peace Corps Volunteers, have greatly enriched and empowered local communities throughout the world. During this month and throughout the year, I encourage you to remember and celebrate the contributions of African Americans to the Peace Corps and to our nation."

Many of Peace Corps' nine regional recruiting offices are holding events in honor of Black History Month. To search for events near you, click here and input "Black History Month" in the advanced search field.

As Peace Corps approaches its 50th anniversary, its service legacy continues to promote peace and friendship around the world with 7,671 volunteers serving in 76 host countries. Historically, nearly 200,000 Americans have served with the Peace Corps to promote a better understanding between Americans and the people of 139 host countries. Peace Corps Volunteers must be U.S. citizens and at least 18 years of age. Peace Corps service is a 27-month commitment. To learn more about the Peace Corps, please visit our website www.peacecorps.gov

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