Commission established to recognize African-Americans’ contributions to New York

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ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) – Legislation signed Friday by Governor Andrew Cuomo established the 400 Years of African-American History Commission. The Commission will develop and carry out activities throughout New York State to commemorate 400 years since the arrival of the first enslaved Africans in the English Colonies.

The commission will consist of 15 members selected by the Governor and legislative leaders as well as the Secretary of State and Commissioner of Education. Members will include individuals with expertise in African-American history, arts and culture. The work of the Commission is designed to recognize and highlight the resilience and contribution of African-Americans over 400 years, educate New Yorkers about the arrival of enslaved Africans in New York and the United States, and to encourage localities and nonprofits to commemorate this significant marker in African-American history through educational programs.

Senator Leroy Comrie said, “Chronicling and giving voice, resonance and significance to the immense, pioneering and worthy contributions of African-Americans over the past four centuries is not only necessary from the standpoint of understanding the past, but even more critical for inspiring the future.”

“This landmark anniversary is an opportunity to once again reflect on the evils of slavery and to honor the struggle and triumph of centuries of African-Americans who have fought against barriers of racial discrimination and enriched and enhanced the fabric of our country,” Governor Cuomo said.

The Commission will submit a report to the Governor containing its planned activities and recommendations by June 1, 2022.

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