In proclaiming Black History Month 2013, President Barack Obama reminded us that “in America, we share a dream that lies at the heart of our founding: that no matter who you are, no matter what you look like, no matter how modest your beginnings or the circumstances of your birth, you can make it if you try. Yet, for many and for much of our Nation's history, that dream has gone unfilled. For African Americans, it was a dream denied until 150 years ago, when a great emancipator called for the end of slavery. It was a dream deferred less than 50 years ago, when a preacher spoke of justice and brotherhood from Lincoln's memorial. This dream of equality and fairness has never come easily -- but it has always been sustained by the belief that in America, change is possible.”
The year 2013 is an important one in the country’s education programs for black history. The 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation was January 1 of this year.
The 150th anniversary of the formation of the United States Colored Troops is also this year. The Bureau of U.S. Colored Troops was founded by General Order 143 on May 22, 1863. That order established a separate government bureau and allowed for the formation of black regiments. As a result, over 200,000 black soldiers and sailors served in the Union army and navy. In fact, by 1864, one in ten of all Union troops were black men. They served courageously in 449 engagements including 39 major battles. Over 68,000 black soldiers died in the Civil War.
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