Blacks in the White House

Blacks in the White House
ESSENCE.COM Jan, 12, 2009

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Marian Anderson accepts her 1963 Presidential Medal of Freedom with pride at the White House from President Lyndon B. Johnson. She was most famous for singing on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial after being denied entrance to Constitution Hall.

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First Lady Bettye Ford greets Representative Barbara Jordan, a Democrat from Texas, to the White House in September 1975. Jordan brought cast members from Scott Joplin’s “Treemonisha” with her and made history the following year as a keynote speaker at the Democratic National Convention.

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Patricia Roberts Harris greets President Jimmy Carter at the White House as his new Housing and Urban Development secretary in 1977. She made history as the first Black woman to be appointed a United States ambassador and served in Luxembourg and also served as secretary of Health and Human Services.

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President Ronald Reagan presents Coretta Scott King with a pen to sign the Martin Luther King, Jr. Day proclamation at the White House on January 12, 1988.

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The nation’s first African-American woman senator, Carol Moseley Braun of Illinois, center, Representative Louis Stokes, left, Secretary of Transportation Rodney Slater, right, and Senator Mike DeWine applaud President Bill Clinton in the Oval Office for his endorsement of the Underground Railroad Act to fund the preservation of the historic trail and provide information.

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Oprah Winfrey stands as a witness as President Clinton signs the National Child Protection Act in December 1993. The talk-show host used her voice to speak out against child abuse offenders and the act created a national database to track them and keep children safe.

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Members of Congress and representatives from the Blacks in Government, Southern Christian Leadership Conference, and NAACP Sector look on as President Bush signs the “No Fear” Act in 2002 to combat discrimination in federal agencies.

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Singer Tina Turner, center left, joins former President Bush and former First Lady Laura Bush, center, in the White House’s Blue Room during a reception for the 2005 Kennedy Center Honors. Other honorees were Julie Harris, left, Robert Redford, Suzanne Farrel and Tony Bennett.

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Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, center, listens in the Oval Office as President Bush greets South African President Thabo Mbeki in 2006. Rice made history with her prominent presence as the first Black woman secretary of state in the Bush Administration.

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In honor of Black History Month, we take a look at a several African-American newsmakers who’ve been recognized in the White House for their groundbreaking efforts to affect change.

President George W. Bush welcomes late Representative Stephanie Tubbs Jones of Ohio, right, and other members of Congress to the White House, as he signs the Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act of 2007 to aid citizens in keeping their homes.


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