02/04/2011 02:40 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Celebrating National Black History Month

As we mark the beginning of a month-long celebration of black history in our country, I am proud to be part of a culture and history that has made great contributions to not just to this country but all parts of the world.

I am honored to represent the birthplace of Harlem Renaissance, which helped define the richness of the African American heritage. In the 1920s, Harlem was "the capital of black America." From leading intellectuals Booker T. Washington and W.E.B. Du Bois, literary poet Langston Hughes and novelist Zora Neale Hurston, to jazz artists "Duke" Ellington, Lena Horne, Louis Armstrong, and Ella Fitzgerald who performed at the esteemed Apollo Theater, Harlem was home to some of the best and brightest minds of the 20th century.

Today, from the West Coast to the East Coast, African Americans continue to play a significant role in every facet of the American society. The dynamic history of black America now extends from Hollywood to the White House, and everywhere in between.

I have been a proud sponsor of resolutions in Congress honoring notable figures such as Ron Brown, Madam CJ Walker, Constance Baker Motley, Percy Sutton, Ray Charles, and Shirley Chisholm. In observance of National Black History Month, I will reintroduce the resolutions again this month.

Black history is a living story of people overcoming hardships to rise to the mountain top. It's about marching from Selma toward the American Dream. It's a story to be told to all Americans, new immigrants, and people worldwide who hope for a better future. I encourage everyone to share and celebrate the history of the African American heritage.

Listen to the Congressman's audio message in celebration of National Black History Month: