Trump’s 2019 Black History Month Statement Recognizes These Key Figures In History

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For the third time during his presidency, Donald Trump issued a National African American History Month statement on Thursday in which he celebrated the contributions of black people throughout American history. In his statement, Trump honored key figures such as singer Aretha Franklin and baseball player Jackie Robinson, and announced that the theme for this month would be "Black Migrations."

This theme "highlights the challenges and successes of African Americans as they moved from farms in the agricultural South to centers of industry in the North, Midwest, and West — especially the migrations that occurred in the twentieth century," Trump's statement read.

Trump also paid homage to "inspirational African Americans" from this time period, ranging from businesswoman Annie Turnbo Malone to educators like Mary McLeod Bethune and Booker T. Washington. He concluded his statement by officially proclaiming that February 2019 would be National African American History Month, and calling on "public officials, educators, librarians, and all the people of the United States to observe this month with appropriate programs, ceremonies, and activities."

As USA Today pointed out last year, Trump's commemoration of Black History Month appears to present a contrast to his other remarks on civil rights. For example, Trump has accused black football players of being unpatriotic for kneeling and protesting police brutality during the national anthem, and appeared to defend a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia.

However, he has simultaneously touted the decreasing rate of black unemployment during his presidency — which, according to the Associated Press, is something he cannot necessarily take credit for. Despite this, Katrina Pierson — a senior adviser in Trump's 2020 campaign — released a statement this week urging Americans to "rejoice at the economic empowerment that has flourished in the black community more recently."

Trump's own statement, meanwhile, discussed slavery, segregation, migration, and the various ways in which black Americans have challenged racism and prejudice. You can read his full statement below:

Trump is not the only political figure who commemorated Black History Month this week. New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker announced on Friday — the first day of Black History Month — that he is running for president in 2020, joining what is expected to be a crowded field of Democrats seeking to replace Trump.