What Did Barack Do Today™


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White House Schedule – August 6, 2014

 

In the morning, the President will deliver remarks and participate in the first Leaders Session of the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit, “Investing in Africa’s Future.” There will be pooled press coverage of this event at the State Department.

 

In the afternoon, the President will take an official family photo with leaders. There will be pooled press coverage of this photo.

 

Afterward, the President will participate in “Leaders Session Two: Peace and Regional Stability.” This event is closed press.

 

Later in the afternoon, the President will participate in “Leaders Session Three: Governing the Next Generation.” There will be pooled press coverage of this event.

 

Afterward, the President will hold a press conference. This press conference is open to pre-credentialed media.

 

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White House Schedule – August 6th, 2014

 

THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
HuMpDaY August 6th, 2014

 

DAILY GUIDANCE AND SCHEDULE FOR
HUMPDAY AUGUST 6th, 2014 

 

Tuesday, August 6th 2014 All Times ET

 

10:00 AM: The President delivers remarks and participates in Session One: Investing in Africa’s Future.

 

12:05 PM: The President participates in a family photo with leaders.

 

12:30 PM: The President participates in Session Two: Peace and Regional Stability.

 

2:00 PM: The Vice President delivers remarks at a meeting on legal access for unaccompanied immigrant children.

 

2:30 PM: The President participates in Session Three: Governing the Next Generation WATCH LIVE.

 

5:00 PM: The President holds a press conference WATCH LIVE.

 

 

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White House Live

 

Now Streaming…
August 06, 2014 10:00 AM EDT
U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit: Leaders Sessions
U.S. Department of State, Washington, DC, White House LIVE Streaming

10:00 AM – President Obama Delivers Remarks and Participates in Session I: Investing in Africa’s Future

12:05 PM – President Obama Participates in a Family Photo with Leaders

2:30 PM – President Obama Participates in Session 3: Governing the Next Generation

5:00 PM – President Obama Holds a Press Conference

Find additional information at

http://wh.gov/us-africa-leaders-summit

 

 

 
August 06, 2014 10:00 AM EDT
Spousal Program Hosted by First Lady Michelle Obama, Mrs. Laura Bush, and the Bush Institute
Washington, DC, White House LIVE Streaming

Schedule of Events:
10:00 AM – A Conversation between Mrs. Obama and Mrs. Bush Moderated by Cokie Roberts

11:35 AM – Dr. Biden Speaks on Education: Creating Opportunities and Investing in the Next Generation of Women Leaders

2:30 PM – Public Private Partnerships: Fostering Women’s Economic Participation and Promoting Healthy Lives Through Technology and Training

Find additional information at

http://wh.gov/us-africa-leaders-summit

 

 

Statements and Releases/Speeches and Remarks – August 6th, 2014

 

First Lady Michelle Obama’s Open Letter on Seventeen.com

 

Remarks by First Lady Michelle Obama at “Investing in Our Future,” a Symposium for Spouses on Advancement for Women and Girls in Africa

 

Remarks by the President at Opening Session of the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit

 

Toast Remarks by the President at U.S.-African Leaders Summit Dinner

 

President Obama Delivers Remarks at a Dinner for the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit

 

Published on Aug 5, 2014

President Barack Obama delivers remarks a dinner for the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit in Washington, DC on August 5, 2014. More information about the Summit is available athttp://www.whitehouse.gov/us-africa-l….

 

 

 

U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit: Videos Of Events….The Final Day.

 

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U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit: Leaders Sessions

 

Started on Aug 6, 2014

African leaders and President Obama will engage in dialogue in action-oriented sessions that will address issues of shared interest and mutual concern.

Schedule of Events:
10:00 AM ET – President Obama Delivers Remarks and Participates in Session I: Investing in Africa’s Future

12:05 PM ET – President Obama Participates in a Family Photo with Leaders

2:30 PM ET – President Obama Participates in Session 3: Governing the Next Generation

5:00 PM ET – President Obama Holds a Press Conference

Find additional information at http://wh.gov/us-africa-leaders-summit

 

 

 

Spousal Program Hosted by First Lady Michelle Obama, Mrs. Laura Bush, and the Bush Institute

 

Started on Aug 6, 2014

First Lady Michelle Obama, in partnership with former First Lady Laura Bush and the Bush Institute, will host a day-long spouses symposium at the Kennedy Center focused on the impact of investments in education, health, and public-private partnerships.

Schedule of Events:
10:00 AM ET – A Conversation between Mrs. Obama and Mrs. Bush Moderated by Cokie Roberts

11:35 AM ET – Dr. Biden Speaks on Education: Creating Opportunities and Investing in the Next Generation of Women Leaders

2:30 PM ET – Public Private Partnerships: Fostering Women’s Economic Participation and Promoting Healthy Lives Through Technology and Training

Find additional information at
http://wh.gov/us-africa-leaders-summit

 

 

 

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“The Right to be Counted”: A New Generation Leaders of a Unified Generation

 

Published on Aug 6, 2014

President Obama and the First Lady attend a celebration of the Special Olympics in which new leaders of a unified generation call for a more respectful and inclusive society.

 

 

 

DREAMer on Confronting Steve King and Rand Paul: ‘You Don’t Run Away’

 

Published on Aug 6, 2014

DREAMer: GOP needs to stop listening to Steve King
Erika Andiola, co-director of the DRM Action Coalition, joins José Díaz-Balart to talk about her recent confrontation with Rep. Steve King over his stance on immigration reform.
Undocumented immigrant Erika Andiola responded to a viral Internet video Wednesday that appeared to show Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) dashing away from her as she confronted Rep. Steve King (R-IA) on his immigration position.

 

 

 

Second Ebola patient Nancy Writebol arrives at Atlanta hospital

 

Published on Aug 6, 2014

American Ebola patient Nancy Writebol arrived for treatment at Atlanta’s Emory University Hospital after traveling from Liberia on Tuesday. Writebol now joins Doctor Kent Brantly who is also being treated for the disease.

 

 

 

Hillary Clinton makes fun of herself on ‘The Colbert Report’

 

Published on Aug 6, 2014

Washington (CNN) – Hillary Clinton poked fun at herself on an unannounced visit to “The Colbert Report” on Tuesday night.

 

The former secretary of state, who has been on a two-month tour to promote her book “Hard Choices,” joked with Stephen Colbert in a scripted segment about the amount of name-dropping in her book and her regular use of diplomatic language.

 
“Madame, it is not just your name-dropping that I call into question, I question your title,” Colbert said. “There aren’t any real hard choices in here.”

 

 

 

#CongressInOneWord

 

Published on Aug 6, 2014

John King, Manu Raju and Todd Zwillich look at a “word cloud” that asked users to sum up the U.S. Congress it one word.

 

 

 

President Obama/Vice Presidetn Biden Speak at the U.S.-Africa Business Forum

 

President Barack Obama delivers remarks at the U.S.-Africa Business Forum during the U.S. Africa Leaders Summit in Washington, D.C., Aug. 5, 2014. (Official White House Photo by Lawrence Jackson)

President Barack Obama delivers remarks at the U.S.-Africa Business Forum during the U.S. Africa Leaders Summit in Washington, D.C., Aug. 5, 2014. (Official White House Photo by Lawrence Jackson)

 

“A Good Partner, an Equal Partner, and a Partner for the Long Term”

 

Yesterday, President Obama spoke to a crowd that included 50 African leaders, at the U.S.-Africa Business Forum in Washington, D.C. The Business Forum was part of the historic three-day U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit — the largest event any U.S. President has held with African heads of state and government.

 

The President highlighted Africa’s impressive economic growth, and made clear that America will be a partner in its success — “a good partner, an equal partner, and a partner for the long term.”

 

Watch the President’s remarks, and see how the U.S. is boosting economic ties with Africa.

 

“I want Africans buying more American products. I want Americans buying more African products.”

 

 

Vice President Biden also spoke at the the Business Forum today, describing the strengthening relationship between the United States and Africa and highlighting the economic progress across the African continent.

 

“The question is no longer what we can do for Africa, but what we can do with Africa,” the Vice President said. This represents an important and exciting shift in the dynamic between the United States and its African partners — and provides a look into our relationship with many African states moving forward.

 

 

“It’s never, ever been a good bet to bet against America,” the Vice President noted. “And America is betting on Africa.”

 

Vice President Joe Biden gives remarks to the U.S.-Africa Business Forum, held at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel, in Washington, D.C., August 5, 2014. (Official White House Photo by David Lienemann)

Vice President Joe Biden gives remarks to the U.S.-Africa Business Forum, held at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel, in Washington, D.C., August 5, 2014. (Official White House Photo by David Lienemann)

 

 

You should also see:

 

U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit: Climate Change Makes Sustainable Development Crucial to Africa

 

This week, more than 40 heads of state and government from across Africa are joining President Obama in Washington for the first-ever U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit. Since 2000, the continent has seen enormous progress. Rates of extreme poverty and hunger are down. The number of new HIV infections in sub-Saharan Africa dropped by almost 40 percent between 2001 and 2012. Access to education and health care is on the upswing.

 

As a result, Africa today is a continent of opportunity. Six of the 10 fastest-growing economies are on the African continent, driven by a rising middle class and a generation of optimistic young people. By 2035, the continent will have a working-age population bigger than that of China or India.

 

This is the time for the United States and African leaders to look beyond the crises of the moment to the opportunities the next 10 to 15 years have in store — which is why the theme of this week’s Leaders Summit is “Investing in the Next Generation.”

 

A key part of that agenda hinges on helping African nations develop sustainable economies whose future growth is not constrained by the threat of climate change and environmental degradation. That’s why the Leaders Summit highlights the ways that the United States and Africa are partnering to address both the drivers and impacts of climate change.

 

Read More.

 

John Podesta: “The Cost of Inaction”

 

Today, John Podesta, Counselor to the President, sent the following message to the White House email list. Want to be on the list? Sign up for updates.

 


 

The facts are in. The science is definitive. The question is no longer whether climate change is happening, but whether we can afford not to act.

 

In the western United States, changes in our climate are fueling wildfire seasons that are longer and more intense — putting people, communities, and businesses at risk.

 

As we’re seeing right now, wildfires unquestionably have devastating impacts on the lives of many Americans. This weekend, California declared a state of emergency as two major wildfires scorched acres of land, threatening towns and forcing many to evacuate. These are just two of the 14 fires that are currently burning throughout the state.

 

Make no mistake: The cost of inaction on wildfires and climate change is too high a price for Americans to pay, particularly when we have a chance to address this right now.

 

Watch as President Obama’s Science Advisor Dr. John Holdren breaks down exactly why this is a problem that we must meet head-on — and pass it along to someone who needs to see it.

 

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The U.S. ★ Africa Leaders Summit: August 4th – 6th, 2014, Washington, D.C.

 

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“I do not see the countries and peoples of Africa as a world apart; I see Africa as a fundamental part of our interconnected world – partners with America on behalf of the future we want for all of our children. That partnership must be grounded in mutual responsibility and mutual respect.”

President Obama

 

President Obama in August will welcome leaders from across the African continent to the Nation’s Capital for a three-day U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit, the first such event of its kind. This Summit, the largest event any U.S. President has held with African heads of state and government, will build on the President’s trip to Africa in the summer of 2013 and it will strengthen ties between the United States and one of the world’s most dynamic and fastest growing regions. Specifically, the August 4-6 Summit will advance the Administration’s focus on trade and investment in Africa and highlight America’s commitment to Africa’s security, its democratic development, and its people. At the same time, it will highlight the depth and breadth of the United States’ commitment to the African continent, advance our shared priorities and enable discussion of concrete ideas to deepen the partnership. At its core, this Summit is about fostering stronger ties between the United States and Africa.

 

The theme of the Summit is “Investing in the Next Generation.” Focusing on the next generation is at the core of a government’s responsibility and work, and this Summit is an opportunity to discuss ways of stimulating growth, unlocking opportunities, and creating an enabling environment for the next generation.

 

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Program of Events

 

View a PDF of the schedule.

 

Throughout the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit, African leaders will have an opportunity to engage with President Obama, his Cabinet members, and other key leaders, including business executives from the U.S. and Africa, Members of Congress, and members of civil society.

 

Discussions will center on how to encourage progress in key areas that Africans define as critical for the future of the continent: expanding trade and investment ties, engaging young African leaders, promoting inclusive sustainable development, expanding cooperation on peace and security, and gaining a better future for Africa’s next generation.

 

President Obama invited all African heads of state or government in good standing with the United States and the African Union to attend the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit. An invitation was also extended to the African Union Chairperson.

 

President Obama has issued invitations for the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit to heads of state or government from:

 

  • Angola
  • Algeria
  • Benin
  • Botswana
  • Burkina Faso
  • Burundi
  • Cameroon
  • Cabo Verde
  • Chad
  • Comoros
  • Cote d’Ivoire
  • Republic of the Congo (Brazzaville)
  • Democratic Republic of the Congo (Kinshasa)
  • Djibouti
  • Equatorial Guinea
  • Ethiopia
  • Egypt
  • Gabon, the Gambia
  • Ghana
  • Guinea
  • Guinea-Bissau
  • Kenya
  • Lesotho
  • Liberia
  • Libya
  • Madagascar
  • Malawi
  • Mali
  • Mauritania
  • Mauritius
  • Morocco
  • Mozambique
  • Namibia
  • Niger
  • Nigeria
  • Rwanda
  • Sao Tome and Principe
  • Senegal
  • Seychelles
  • Sierra Leone
  • Somalia
  • South Africa
  • South Sudan
  • Swaziland
  • Tanzania
  • Togo
  • Tunisia
  • Uganda
  • Zambia

 

He also extended an invitation to the African Union Chairperson

 

Read the background Papers for each participating country.


 

Description of Events

 

AUGUST 4

 

Signature Events
On August 4, U.S. Cabinet officials will host a number of Signature Events on key topics of importance to the United States and African partners, including a Civil Society Forum, Investing in Women, Peace and Prosperity, Investing in Health: Investing in Africa’s Future, Resilience and Food Security in a Changing Climate, and Combating Wildlife Trafficking. These events will be held at the National Academy of Sciences, across the street from theU.S. Department of State, and will be by invitation only.

 

1) Civil Society Forum
2) Investing in Women, Peace, and Prosperity
3) Investing in Health: Investing in Africa’s Future
4) Resilience and Food Security in a Changing Climate
5) Combating Wildlife Trafficking

AGOA Forum
To further demonstrate our commitment to the sustainable economic growth and development in Africa U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman will host the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) Ministerial at the World Bank. African and U.S. trade officials will discuss the future of the AGOA program and U.S. plans to pursue renewal of AGOA legislation.

 

Capitol Hill Reception
The Senate Foreign Relations and House Foreign Affairs Committees will host a welcome reception for African leaders on Capitol Hill in the afternoon.

 

Susan E. Rice: Previewing the U.S.- Africa Leaders Summit

 

Published on Jul 31, 2014

United States national security Advisor Susan E. Rice previews the first-ever U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit where President Obama will welcome nearly 50 African heads of state to Washington, as well as leaders from across Africa’s civil society, private sector and faith communities.

 

 

 

Vice President Biden Address the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit

 

Published on Aug 4, 2014

Vice President Joe Biden speaks at the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit Civil Society Forum in Washington, D.C. on August 4, 2014.

 

 

 

Dr. Jill Biden delivers remarks to the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit

 

Published on Aug 4, 2014

At a luncheon at the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit, Dr. Jill Biden speaks on how we can invest in women to foster peace and prosperity.

 

 

 

U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit: Resilience and Food Security in a Changing Climate

 

Streamed live on Aug 4, 2014

U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit: Resilience and Food Security in a Changing Climate.

The “Resilience and Food Security in a Changing Climate” Signature Event will highlight three critical and interrelated areas in the U.S-Africa relationship: food security, climate change, and resilience.

 

 

 

U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit: Civil Society Forum

 

Streamed live on Aug 4, 2014

U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit: Civil Society Forum

The “Civil Society Forum” Signature Event will bring together U.S. and African government leaders, members of African and U.S. civil society and the diaspora, and private sector leaders.

8:30 AM – Civil Society Forum Panel
10:00 AM – Secretary of State Kerry Addresses the Forum
11:50 AM – Vice President Biden Delivers Remarks

Find additional information at http://www.whitehouse.gov/us-africa-l….

 

Live coverage of this event has concluded. Drag the counter along the timeline to replay

 

 

 

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U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit: Day Two

 

 

AUGUST 5

 

U.S.-Africa Business Forum
On August 5, the U.S. Department of Commerce and Bloomberg Philanthropies will co-host the first U.S.-Africa Business Forum, a day focused on strengthening trade and financial ties between the United States and Africa. President Obama will participate in the Business Forum along with Secretary Pritzker and Mayor Bloomberg, as will other senior U.S. government officials. Held at the Mandarin Oriental, in Washington, D.C., the U.S.-Africa Business Forum will intensify efforts to strengthen trade and financial ties between the United States and Africa and seek to create partnerships that will promote trade, accelerate job growth, and encourage investment. The Forum will focus on U.S. private sector engagement in Africa in the areas of finance and capital investment; infrastructure; power and energy; agriculture; consumer goods; and information and communication technology. African leaders will engage with business executives from both sides of the Atlantic to engage in conversations about successes and solutions to increase trade with and invest in Africa. President Obama will participate in the conversation with CEOs and government leaders from the United States and Africa.

 

See the U.S.-Africa Business Forum Official Website

 

White House Dinner on the occasion of the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit
On the evening of August 5, President and Mrs. Obama will host a dinner at the White House for African heads of state and government and select guests.

 

 

U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit: Day Three

 

 

AUGUST 6

 

Summit Leader Meetings
African leaders and President Obama will engage in dialogue in three action-oriented sessions that will address issues of shared interest and mutual concern.

 

Leader Session I – Investing in Africa’s Future
The opening session will discuss inclusive, sustainable development, economic growth, and trade and investment.

 

Leader Session II – Peace and Regional Stability
A working lunch centered around shared concerns regarding peace and security, including a discussion of long-term solutions to regional conflicts, peacekeeping challenges, and combating transnational threats.

 

 

Leader Session III – Governing for the Next Generation
This session will allow for a candid conversation about the greatest challenges and opportunities for Africa’s continued political and economic progress and a specific focus on governance. This session will focus on how to enhance governance in order to deliver services to citizens, attract and prepare for increased domestic and foreign direct investment, manage transnational threats, and stem the flow of illicit finance.

 

 

Leader Press Conferences

 

Spousal Program

On August 6, First Lady Michelle Obama, in partnership with former First Lady Laura Bush and the Bush Institute, will host a day-long spouses symposium at the Kennedy Center focused on the impact of investments in education, health, and public-private partnerships.

 

 

Media

Media representatives wishing to cover the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit and related events and/or to get access to the Media Center must apply to receive a credential. For more information on media and the online accreditation system, please go to the Working Media Credential Application page.

 

Any media-related questions should be directed to the U.S. Media Coordinator’s Office, at AfricaSummitMedia@state.gov.

 

Side Events

In order to leverage the presence in Washington, D.C. of so many African leaders as well as the intense interest in U.S.-Africa ties that the Summit has engendered, a number of non government actors – the private sector and non-profit organizations — are organizing events along the margins to coincide with the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit.

 

 

YALI

YALI / Young African Leaders Initiative / logo

 

President Obama launched the Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI) in 2010 to support young leaders with opportunities and resources. Through YALI, the United States is committing significant resources to enhance leadership skills, bolster entrepreneurship, and connect young African leaders with one another, with the United States, and with the American people. Investing in the next generation of African leaders is critical to ensuring the success of Africa’s democracies and its economies.

 

The Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders is the exchange program of the President’s Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI). This program brings over 500 young leaders to the United States each year, beginning in 2014, for leadership training, academic coursework, and mentoring. It also creates unique opportunities in Africa, through internships and follow-on opportunities, to put those new skills to practical use in propelling economic growth and prosperity and strengthening democratic institutions. To be part of the YALI Network, follow @YALINetwork on Twitter or find us on Facebook.

 

For more information on YALI, please visitYoungAfricanLeaders.state.gov.

 

Stay Engaged

 

 

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U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit: President Obama Welcomes an Historic Gathering to Washington

 

It’s an historic week in the nation’s capital as President Obama hosts the largest gathering of African heads of state and governments ever assembled by a U.S. President. The three-day U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit will welcome 51 African leaders to Washington, D.C. and focus on sustainable development, trade, collaboration, investment, and America’s commitment to Africa’s security, its democratic development, and its people.

 

Leading up to the Summit, President Obama’s Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI) was in the spotlight last week, as the President hosted a Town Hall meeting with the 500 leaders selected as the inaugural class for the Mandela Washington Fellowship. First Lady Michelle Obama also addressed the group on Wednesday, delivering powerful remarks on her own heritage, and the importance of promoting education and empowering women in Africa. “No country can ever truly flourish,” she said, “if it stifles the potential of its women, and deprives itself of the contributions of half of its citizens.”

 

The theme for this week’s U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit is “Investing in the Next Generation.”

 

For a full list of events, click here, or review the synopsis below.

 

AUGUST 4

 

Signature Events:

  • The Civil Society Forum event will be convened by Secretary of State Kerry and will bring together U.S. and African government leaders, members of African and U.S. civil society and the diaspora, and private sector leaders to focus on strategies for fostering social entrepreneurship, civic innovation, and development.
  • The Investing in Women, Peace, and Prosperity event will highlight the importance of African women’s leadership and meaningful participation in government, the economy, and civil society — as a means to accelerate economic development, improve health and educational indicators, advance democratic development, and improve the safety and security of all citizens.
  • The Investing in Health: Investing in Africa’s Future event will bring together senior U.S. government officials, African leaders, Ministers of Health, and senior health policy makers who will envision the future of U.S.-African global health partnerships in achieving global health security, promoting science and health, reaching an AIDS-free generation, and ending preventable child and maternal deaths.
  • The Resilience and Food Security in a Changing Climate event will highlight three critical and interrelated areas in the U.S-Africa relationship: food security, climate change, and resilience. These issues are of particular concern for African nations, where the majority of rural populations rely on rain-fed agriculture, and where climate change is already having a major affect.  More productive agricultural systems will help transform lives, communities, and nations by generating income and by freeing resources for rural populations to participate elsewhere in the economy.
  • The Combating Wildlife Trafficking event will be an opportunity for African leaders to join together and share their ideas on how to best counter the threat of poaching and inspire African youth to safeguard their natural heritage for future generations.
  • AGOA Forum: To further demonstrate our commitment to sustainable economic growth and development in Africa, U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman will host the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) Ministerial at the World Bank. African and U.S. trade officials will discuss the future of the AGOA program and U.S. plans to pursue renewal of AGOA legislation.
  • Capitol Hill Reception: The Senate Foreign Relations and House Foreign Affairs Committees will host a welcome reception for African leaders on Capitol Hill in the afternoon.

 

AUGUST 5

  • U.S.-Africa Business Forum: The U.S. Department of Commerce and Bloomberg Philanthropies will co-host the first U.S.-Africa Business Forum, a day focused on strengthening trade and financial ties between the United States and Africa to accelerate job growth, and encourage investment.  See the U.S.-Africa Business Forum Official Website for more information, and a list of African companies, U.S. companies, and government representatives slated to attend.
  • White House Dinner on the occasion of the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit: On the evening of August 5, President Obama and the First Lady will host a dinner at the White House for African heads of state, and government and select guests.

 

AUGUST 6

  • Summit Leader Meetings:  African leaders and President Obama will engage in dialogue in three action-oriented sessions that will address issues of shared interest and mutual concern.
    • Leader Session I – Investing in Africa’s Future:  The opening session will discuss inclusive, sustainable development, economic growth, and trade and investment.
    • Leader Session II – Peace and Regional Stability:  A working lunch will be centered around shared concerns regarding peace and security, including a discussion of long-term solutions to regional conflicts, peacekeeping challenges, and combating transnational threats.
    • Leader Session III – Governing for the Next Generation:  This session will allow for a candid conversation about the greatest challenges and opportunities for Africa’s continued political and economic progress and a specific focus on governance. This session will focus on how to enhance governance in order to deliver services to citizens, attract and prepare for increased domestic and foreign direct investment, manage transnational threats, and stem the flow of illicit finance.
  • Spousal Program:  On August 6, First Lady Michelle Obama, in partnership with former First Lady Laura Bush and the Bush Institute, will host a day-long spouses symposium at the Kennedy Center focused on the impact of investments in education, health, and public-private partnerships.
  • A Dialogue with African CEOs:  On August 6, Congressman Gregory W. Meeks and the Congressional Black Caucus Africa Task Force will host “A Dialogue with African CEOs,” entailing panel discussions and networking with African business and political leaders, U.S. private sector representatives, and members of Congress.

 

Read about the President’s town hall with Mandela Washington Fellows.

 

Read the First Lady’s full remarks to the Mandela Leadership Fellows.

Valerie B. Jarrett is Senior Advisor and Assistant to the President for Intergovernmental Affairs and Public Engagement.

 

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Happy 53rd Birthday, President Obama!

 

Today, President Obama is celebrating his 53rd birthday. In honor of the occasion, we put together our top 10 photos from the past year — because we thought that means more than our “top 53.”

 

Check out some of our favorites from the past year below:

 

1. Just hanging out.

Bo was just hanging out in the Outer Oval Office“Bo was just hanging out in the Outer Oval Office when the President walked in to begin his day. Each morning, the President always enters through this door rather than the direct outside door to the Oval Office.” November 6, 2013. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

 

2. Talking hoops.

President Barack Obama talks with 2013 NBA Champion Miami Heat playersPresident Barack Obama talks with 2013 NBA Champion Miami Heat players Dwyane Wade, left, and LeBron James in the Blue Room prior to a ceremony honoring the team on winning their second straight Championship title, in the East Room of the White House. January 14, 2014. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

 

3. Stretching is key.

President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden participate in a "Let's Move!" video tapingPresident Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden participate in a “Let’s Move!” video taping on the Colonnade of the White House. February 21, 2014. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

 

4. POTUS sits “Between Two Ferns.”

President Barack Obama participates in an interview with Zach GalifianakisPresident Barack Obama participates in an interview with Zach Galifianakis for “Between Two Ferns with Zach Galifianakis” in the Diplomatic Reception Room of the White House. February 24, 2014. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

 

5. President and Pope.

President Barack Obama bids farewell to Pope Francis following a private audience at the VaticanPresident Barack Obama bids farewell to Pope Francis following a private audience at the Vatican. March 27, 2014. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

 

6. Overwhelming joy!

President Barack Obama walks with Lincoln Rose Pierce SmithPresident Barack Obama walks with Lincoln Rose Pierce Smith, the daughter of former Deputy Press Secretary Jamie Smith, in the Oval Office. April 4, 2014. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

 

7. A baby fist bump, to a baby.

President Barack Obama gives a fist bump to a babyPresident Barack Obama gives a fist bump to a baby during a U.S. Embassy meet and greet at the Ritz-Carlton in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. April 27, 2014. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

 

8. Group photo!

Children help President Barack Obama to his feetChildren help President Barack Obama to his feet after he sat on the floor to have a group photo with them during a U.S. Embassy meet and greet at the Sofitel Philippine Plaza Manila in Manila, Philippines. April 28, 2014. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

 

9. Real life President meets bobblehead President.

President Barack Obama holds a bobblehead doll of himself in the Outer Oval OfficePresident Barack Obama holds a bobblehead doll of himself in the Outer Oval Office. May 14, 2014. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

 

10. A Day in the Life.

President Barack Obama has lunch with Rebekah Erler at Matt's Bar in Minneapolis, Minn., June 26, 2014. Erler is a 36-year-old working wife and mother of two pre-school aged boys who had written the President a letter about economic difficulties. President Barack Obama has lunch with Rebekah Erler at Matt’s Bar in Minneapolis, Minn., June 26, 2014. Erler is a 36-year-old working wife and mother of two pre-school aged boys who had written the President a letter about economic difficulties. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

 

11. Yes, this is #11 — but it’s a GIF, so it’s ok.

 

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8/4/14: White House Press Briefing

 

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Published on Aug 4, 2014

White House Press Briefings are conducted most weekdays from the James S. Brady Press Briefing Room in the West Wing.

 

 

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Remembering James Brady: “A Legend at the White House”

 

Highlights from Dr. Biden’s Trip to Africa

 

 

Weekly Address: It’s Time for Congress to Help the Middle Class

 

Questions and Answers on Ebola

 

Weekly Wrap Up: Jobs, a VP #TBT, Iced Tea, and BBQ

 

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Statements and Releases – August 4th, 2014

 

First Lady Michelle Obama and Former First Lady Laura Bush Host Symposium with Spouses on Advancements for Women and Girls in Africa

 

FACT SHEET: U.S. Support for Combating Wildlife Trafficking

 

FACT SHEET: U.S. Support for Democratic Institutions, Good Governance, and Human Rights in Africa

 

FACT SHEET: Investing in African Trade for our Common Future

 

FACT SHEET: U.S. Engagement on Climate Change and Resilience in Africa

 

FACT SHEET: U.S.-African Cooperation on Food Security

 

FACT SHEET: Shared Investment in Youth

 

FACT SHEET: U.S.-African Cooperation in Advancing Gender Equality

 

FACT SHEET: U.S.–African Cooperation on Global Health

 

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The 369th Infantry Regiment, aka The Harlem Hellfighters, The Black Rattlers And The Men Of Bronze.


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369th Infantry Regiment (United States)

 

The 369th Infantry Regiment, formerly known as the 15th New York National Guard Regiment, was an infantry regiment of the United States Army that saw action in World War I and World War II. The Regiment consisted of African-Americans and African Puerto Ricans and was known for being the first African-American regiment to serve with the American Expeditionary Force during World War I. Before the 15th New York National Guard Regiment was formed, any African American that wanted to fight in the war either had to enlist in the French or Canadian armies. The regiment was nicknamed the Harlem Hellfighters, the Black Rattlers and the Men of Bronze, which was given to the regiment by the French. The nickname “Hell Fighters” was given to them by the Germans due to their toughness and that they never lost a man through capture, lost a trench or a foot of ground to the enemy. The “Harlem Hellfighters” were the first all black regiment that helped change the American public’s opinion on African American soldiers and helped pave the way for future African American soldiers.

 

 

 

369th Infantry Regiment
Harlem Hellfighters
369th InfantryCOA.jpeg

Coat of arms
Active 1913–1945
Branch New York Army National Guard
Type Infantry
Nickname Harlem Hellfighters
Motto “Don’t Tread On Me”
Engagements World War I

World War II

Commanders
Notable
commanders
Benjamin O. Davis, Sr.
Insignia
DUI

Distinctive unit insignia for 369th Regiment &...

Distinctive unit insignia for 369th Regiment & 369th Sustainment BDE (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

 

Who Were the Harlem Hellfighters?

 

by Henry Louis Gates, Jr.

 

Harlem Hellfighters Homecoming Parade

“Up the wide avenue they swung. Their smiles outshone the golden sunlight. In every line proud chests expanded beneath the medals valor had won. The impassioned cheering of the crowds massed along the way drowned the blaring cadence of their former jazz band. The old 15th was on parade and New York turned out to tender its dark-skinned heroes a New York welcome.”

 

So began the three-page spread the New York Tribune ran Feb. 18, 1919, a day after 3,000 veterans of the 369th Infantry (formerly the 15th New York (Colored) Regiment) paraded up from Fifth Avenue at 23rd Street to 145th and Lenox. One of the few black combat regiments in World War I, they’d earned the prestigious Croix de Guerre from the French army under which they’d served for six months of “brave and bitter fighting.” Their nickname they’d received from their German foes: “Hellfighters,” the Harlem Hellfighters.

 

In their ranks was one of the Great War’s greatest heroes, Pvt. Henry Johnson of Albany, N.Y., who, though riding in a car for the wounded, was so moved by the outpouring he stood up waving the bouquet of flowers he’d been handed. It would take another 77 years for Johnson to receive an official Purple Heart from his own government, but on this day, not even the steel plate in his foot could weigh him down.

 

It was, the newspapers noted, the first opportunity the City of New York had to greet a full regiment of returning doughboys, black or white. The Chicago Defender put the crowd at 2 million, the New York Tribune at 5 million, with even the New York Times conservatively estimating it at “hundreds of thousands.”

 

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“Never have white Americans accorded so heartfelt and hearty a reception to a contingent of their black country-men,” the Tribune continued. And “the ebony warriors” felt it, literally, beneath a hail of chocolate candy, cigarettes and coins raining down on them from open windows up and down the avenues. It would have been hard to miss them, at least according to the New York Times, to whom all the men appeared 7 feet tall.

 

Yet as rousing as those well-wishers were, the Tribune pointed out, “the greeting the regiment received along Fifth Avenue was to the tumult which greeted it in Harlem as the west wind to a tornado.” After all, 70 percent of the 369th called Harlem home, and their families, friends and neighbors had turned out in full force to thank and welcome those who’d made it back. Eight hundred hadn’t, an absence recalled in the number of handkerchiefs drying wet eyes.

 

That morning, it had taken four trains and two ferries to transport the black veterans and their white officers from Camp Upton on Long Island to Manhattan, and the parade, kicking off at 11:00 a.m.—an echo of the armistice that had halted the fighting three months before—stretched seven miles long. In his 1845 slave narrative, Frederick Douglass had likened his master to a snake; now a rattlesnake adorned the black veterans’ uniforms—their insignia. On hand to greet them was a host of dignitaries, including the African-American leader Emmett Scott, special adjutant to the secretary of war; William Randolph Hearst; and New York’s popular Irish Catholic governor, Al Smith, who reviewed his Hellfighters from a pair of stands on 60th and 133rd Streets.

 

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In Harlem, the Chicago Defender observed, Feb. 17, 1919, was an unofficial holiday, with black school children granted dismissal by the board of education. A similar greeting—on the same day, in fact—met the returning black veterans of the 370th Infantry (the old Eighth Illinois) in Chicago, Chad L. Williams writes in his 2010 book, Torchbearers of Democracy: African American Soldiers in the World War I Era. And in the coming months, there would be other celebrations, even in the Jim Crow South, most notably Savannah, Ga., the state that in 1917 and 1918 led the nation in lynchings, according to statistics published by the Tuskegee Institute. It was, to be sure, a singular season, a pause between the end of hostilities abroad and the resumption of hostilities at home in a nation still divided so starkly, so violently, by the color line.

 

Congress would not make Armistice Day an official U.S. holiday until 1938, and it would not be called Veterans Day until 1954. But the people of New York didn’t need Congress to tell them what to do when their black fighting men returned home, and so you might say, the first “veterans day parade” in New York associated with “Armistice Day” was held for black soldiers on Feb. 17, 1919, during the month that would eventually be set aside for black history.

 

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Blacks Debate the War Effort

Two years before, on April 2, 1917, President Woodrow Wilson asked Congress for a declaration of war in order to enter a conflict between European powers that had started over the assassination of an archduke in 1914. “The World must be made safe for democracy,” the president said. The nation’s allies: the British, French and Russians. Its enemies: Germany, Italy, Austria-Hungary, the so-called Central Powers.

 

For some African Americans, Wilson’s rhetoric smacked of hypocrisy. After all, he was the president who had screened Birth of a Nation (a film glorifying the Ku Klux Klan) at the White House and refused to support a federal anti-lynching bill, even though each year averaged more than one lynching a week, predominantly in former Confederate states that had effectively stripped black men of their voting rights. “Will some one tell us just how long Mr. Wilson has been a convert to TRUE DEMOCRACY?” the Baltimore Afro-American editorialized on April 28, 1917 (quoted in Williams). “Patriotism has no appeal for us; justice has,” the Messengera Socialist publication launched by editors Chandler Owen and A. Philip Randolph (of March on Washington fame), declared on Nov. 1, 1917—a sentiment that would land both men in jail under the Espionage Act in 1918 (quoted in Adriane Lentz-Smith’s 2009 book, Freedom Struggles: African Americans and World War I).

 

Many more blacks viewed the war as an opportunity for victory at home and abroad. W.E.B. Du Bois, a founder of the NAACP in 1909, urged his fellow African Americans to “Close Ranks” in a (now infamous) piece he wrote for the Crisis in July 1918, despite the persistent segregation of black officers at training camp. “Let us, while this war lasts, forget our special grievances and close our ranks shoulder to shoulder with our white fellow citizens and the allied nations that are fighting for democracy,” Du Bois advised—a stance, Williams notes, that would stir controversy when Du Bois was exposed for making simultaneous “efforts to secure a captaincy” for himself.

 

In all, Williams writes, “2.3 million blacks registered [for the draft]” during World War I.  Although the Marines would not accept them, and the Navy enlisted few and only in menial positions, large numbers served in the army. Some 375,000 blacks served overall, including “639 men [who] received commissions, a historical first,” Williams adds in his essay “African Americans and World War I.”

 

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Wartime Violence

The U.S. Army segregated its black troops into two combat divisions, the 92nd and the 93rd, because, as Williams explains, “War planners deemed racial segregation, just as in civilian life, the most logical and efficient way of managing the presence of African Americans in the army.”

 

But a different kind of violence soon spread—at home, most notably in East St. Louis, where, on July 2, 1917, the rumor that a black man had killed a white man resulted in the murder of nine whites and hundreds of blacks, not to mention half a million dollars in property damage. Things weren’t much better in the South. On August 23, 1917, black soldiers in the 24th Infantry garrisoned in Houston revolted when one of their comrades was beaten and arrested by two white police officers after he tried to stop them from arresting a black woman. Quickly, rumors flew that a white mob was approaching the camp, which, whether true or not, prompted the black troops to scour the camp for ammunition under the notion that the best defense is a good offense.

 

Marching through the rain to Houston, they killed 15 people, including four policemen and a member of the Illinois National Guard. Two of the black soldiers died in the fighting, one shooting himself in the head rather than risking capture. “Ten men probably ‘could not begin to tell the complete story of what took place that night,’ ” Lentz-Smith quotes “Army prosecutor Colonel Hull,” yet in the fallout, “[t]hey charged 63 members of the battalion with mutiny,” and hanged 13 in “their army khakis.”

 

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‘Over There!’

Of the 375,000 blacks who served in World War I, 200,000 shipped out overseas, but even in the theater of war, few saw combat. Most suffered through backbreaking labor in noncombat service units as part of the Services of Supply. Lentz-Smith puts the number of combat troops at 42,000, only 11 percent of all blacks in the army.

 

For the first of the two black combat divisions, the 92nd, the Great War was a nightmare.  Not only were they segregated, their leaders scapegoated them for the American Expeditionary Forces’ failure at Meuse-Argonne in 1918, even though troops from both races struggled during the campaign. In the aftermath, five black officers were court-martialed on trumped-up charges, with white Major J. N. Merrill of the 368th’s First Battalion writing his superior officer, “Without my presence or that of any other white officer right on the firing line I am absolutely positive that not a single colored officer would have advanced with his men. The cowardice showed by the men was abject” (quoted in Williams, Torchbearers). Even though Secretary of War Newton Baker eventually commuted the officers’ sentences, the damage was done: The 92nd was off the line.

 

Harlem Hellfighters from World War I

Harlem Hellfighters from World War I

 

Harlem Hellfighters: Henry Johnson and Needham Roberts

In contrast, Gen. John J. Pershing, the commander of American Expeditionary Forces in Europe, assigned the 93rd Combat Division to the French Army. The 93rd consisted of the 369th, 370th, 371st and 372nd infantry regiments. “With the French, the Harlem Hellfighters fought at Chateau-Thierry and Belleau Wood,” a resource for teachers states on the National Archives website. “All told they spent 191 days in combat, longer than any other American unit in the war.” They gave no ground to the enemy, and none of their men were captured—although, as we shall see, at least one came close.

 

The story lives in legend, and it is immortalized by Joel Rogers in his book’s Amazing Fact No. 90: “The first two Americans to be decorated by France in the first World War were Henry Johnson, and Needham Roberts, both Negroes. Johnson killed four Germans and wounded twenty-eight others single-handedly.” Turns out this Amazing Fact is a fact indeed (though the number of Germans wounded was lower).

 

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Henry Lincoln Johnson was born in Alexandra, Va., in 1897, writes Tiffani Murray in her entry on Johnson in the African American National Biography Online. As a teenager, he moved to the North, eventually settling down with a job as a porter in Albany, N.Y. Johnson enlisted in the army on June 5, 1917. Needham Roberts hailed from Trenton, N.J. His father was a preacher and janitor. Roberts took odd jobs as a teenager, and first attempted to enlist in the Navy in 1916 but was turned down for being too young.

 

Both men landed in France with their regiment in early 1918. Their date with history came on the night of May 13-14. Roberts and Johnson were two men on a five-man observation team looking for signs of German advances. According to Christopher Capozzola, writing on Roberts in the African American National Biography Online, the “remote listening post [was] sixty yards into the no-man’s-land between the French and German forces that faced off along the banks of the Aisne River.”

 

In a dramatic letter to Johnson’s wife, the 369th’s white colonel, William Hayward, provided the details:

 

At the beginning of the attack the Germans fired a volley of bullets and grenades and both of the boys were wounded, your husband three times and Roberts twice, then the Germans rushed the post, expecting to make an easy capture. In spite of their wounds, the two boys waited cooly and courageously and when the Germans were within striking distance opened fire, your husband with his rifle and Private Roberts from his helpless position on the ground with hand grenades. But the German raiding party came on in spite of their wounded and in a few seconds our boys were at grips with the terrible foe in a desperate hand to hand encounter in which the enemy outnumbered them ten to one.

 

The boys inflicted great loss on the enemy, but Roberts was overpowered and about to be carried away when your husband, who had used up all of the cartridges in the magazine of his rifle and had knocked one German down with the butt end of it, drew his bolo from his belt. A bolo is a short heavy weapon carried by the American soldier, with the edge of a razor, the weight of a cleaver and the point of a butcher knife. He rushed to the rescue of his former comrade, and fighting desperately, opened with his bolo the head of the German who was throttling Roberts and turned to the boche who had Roberts by the feet, plunging the bolo into the German’s bowels …

 

Henry laid about him right and left with his heavy knife, and Roberts released from the grasp of the scoundrels, began again to throw hand grenades and exploded them in their midst, and the Germans, doubtless thinking it was a host instead of two brave Colored boys fighting like tigers at bay, picked up their dead and wounded and slunk away, leaving many weapons and part of their shot riddled clothing, and leaving a trail of blood, which we followed at dawn near to their lines … So it was in this way the Germans found the Black Americans. Both boys have received a citation of the French general commanding the splendid French division in which my regiment is now serving and will receive the croix de guerre cross of war. —The Chicago Defender, June 22, 1918

 

At the top of the American chain of command, Gen. Pershing remarked on Johnson’s and Roberts’ heroics in his communiqué of May 20, 1918: “Reports in hand show a notable instance of bravery and devotion shown by two soldiers of an American colored regiment operating in a French sector … They should be given credit for preventing, by their bravery, the capture of any of our men.” Today, Sen. Charles Schumer of New Yorkis using these letters to press the government to bestow on Johnson its highest award, a (posthumous) Medal of Honor. If you feel moved to show your support for Sen. Schumer’s effort, you can contact him here.

 

With his letter to Mrs. Johnson, Col. Hayward sent the equivalent of 50 francs, half of what the French general overseeing the 369th, Henri Gouraud, had earmarked for “the family of the first one of my soldiers wounded in a fight with the enemy under heroic circumstances.” The other half, Hayward told her, would go to Robert’s family. As valuable as that money was, perhaps the following sentiment he shared brought as much comfort: “I regret to say that he [Johnson] is in the hospital, seriously, but not dangerously wounded, the wounds having been received under such circumstances that every one of us in the regiment would be pleased and proud to trade places with him.” It was a far cry from what the black men of the 92nd Division had experienced and a level of sympathy and respect that stands out when we recall that Col. Hayward and Pvt. Johnson wouldn’t have been able to ride the same railroad car in the Jim Crow South.

 

Williams writes, “In Henry Johnson, African Americans had found their modern-day Crispus Attucks.” Summarizing his war record at the Harlem Veterans Day parade, Pvt. George Jackson riffed on the official report, joshing that Johnson had “killed [one German] with rifle shots,” one “with butt of rifle” and another he’d “scared to death,” while of those injured, two he’d simply “kicked and cussed out” (New York Tribune, Feb. 18, 1919). For their courage, the New York Times reported the day after the parade, “the [German] boches gave them the title of the ‘Blutdurstig schwarze manner,’ ” or “Blood thirsty black men,” which eventually translated to “Hellfighters.”

 

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Receiving Awards and Returning Home

The French conveyed a number of military decorations on black American soldiers in World War I, with Roberts and Johnson the first Americans of any race to receive the coveted Croix de Guerre. By war’s end, members of the 369th, 371st and 372nd regiments also received it. (In Amazing Fact No. 85 of his book, Rogers includes the 370th in the list, but in the 1974 book The Unknown Soldiers: Black Troops in World War I, Arthur E. Barbeau and Florette Henri write of the 370th, “Although the regiment as a unit was not awarded the Croix de Guerre, seventy-one individuals received it, and another twenty-one were decorated with the Distinguished Service Cross.” Rogers, however, correctly notes that the First Battalion of the 367th also received the unit Croix de Guerre.)

 

As mentioned at the top, many black veterans received a hero’s welcome when they returned to the United States, at least from their own communities. Leading the Harlem Hellfighters in the New York City parade was Lt. James “Jim” Reese Europe’s jazz band, which had crisscrossed Europe some 100,000 miles and drove Paris “jazz-mad,” the New York Times and Tribune reported. Even though no black regiment had been kept around long enough (perhaps not coincidentally) to participate in the first Armistice Day celebration in France on Nov. 11, 1918, Williams notes, in New York, the Tribune observed, “Racial lines were for the time displaced. The color of their [the 369th’s] skin had nothing to do with the occasion. The blood they had shed in France was as red as any other.”

 

Perhaps best summing up what the war had achieved for them personally, one black Hellfighter, spotting his old boss, Henry C. Frick (of steel and museum fame), along the parade route, exclaimed, “That’s one of the biggest men in New York. I used to shine his shoes. Now he’s almost falling out of a window to wave to me.”

 

“No American soldiers saw harder or more combat fighting than they, and none gave a better accounting of themselves,” district leader John Lyons read to the paraders from a memorial written by Columbia University President Nicholas Murray Butler. “We welcome them to the work of peace as we honor them for the work of war” (New York Tribune, Feb. 18, 1919). The only thing missing, Col. Hayward told the Tribune, were the French generals who had led the men to victory. They “set out to teach us how to fight. They fought us and they fought for us.”

 

The Sad Postscripts of Roberts and Johnson

Neither Henry Johnson nor Needham Roberts maintained their fame for long. Johnson, despite being trumpeted in advertisements by the military, was denied a disability claim, because his discharge papers did not properly record his injuries. He died in 1929 at the age of 32 and was buried in Arlington National Cemetery—a fact lost to history until his grave was rediscovered in 2002. Johnson received a posthumous Purple Heart in 1996 and a Distinguished Service Cross in 2003. He also has a statue and a street named in his honor in Albany.

In 1924, Roberts was arrested for wearing his uniform after he had been discharged, Capozzola writes. In 1928, he was arrested for a sex crime. He ran afoul of the law again in the late 1940s, when he was accused of molesting an 8-year-old girl. Roberts and his second wife hanged themselves on April 18, 1949.

 

 

We Return Fighting

Despite the pomp and circumstance of those first Veterans Day parades, the summer of 1919 would earn the nickname “Red Summer” from James Weldon Johnson, owing to the high number of race riots occurring across America’s cities, most notably Chicago, the site of one of those parades. A number of the victims were black veterans. “Every time a white man insults a negro, every time he conveys by his conduct and overweening sense of his race superiority to a negro, he contributes to the cause out of which these race riots have come,” former president William Howard Taft wrote in an op-ed in the Washington Post on Aug. 4, 1919. Yet “[n]o race responds so quickly to sympathetic aid as the negro,” Taft added in his paternalistic way.

 

But the war had already changed many of the nation’s black veterans, and Du Bois summed it up best in a piece he wrote for the Crisis in May 1919 titled “Returning Soldiers.” “It was right for us to fight. The faults of our country are our faults. Under similar circumstances, we would fight again. But by the God of Heaven, we are cowards and jackasses if now that that war is over, we do not marshal every ounce of our brain and brawn to fight a sterner, longer, more unbending battle against the forces of hell in our own land. We return. We return from fighting. We return fighting. Make way for Democracy! We saved it in France, and by the Great Jehovah, we will save it in the United States of America, or know the reason why.”

 

No black veterans of the Great War survive today, but may we keep them—and the more than 2 million living black veterans—in our thoughts today.

 

As always, you can find more “Amazing Facts About the Negro” on The Root, and check back each week as we count to 100.

 

Henry Louis Gates Jr. is the Alphonse Fletcher University Professor and founding director of the Hutchins Center for African and African American Research at Harvard University. He is also the editor-in-chief of The Root. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook.

 

Thank you      

Hellfighters

 

 

 

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Wartime poster of the 369th fighting German soldiers, with the figure of Abraham Lincoln above

Wartime poster of the 369th fighting German soldiers, with the figure of Abraham Lincoln above

Soldiers of the 369th (15th N.Y.) who won the Croix de Guerre for gallantry in action, 1919. Left to right. Front row: Pvt. Ed Williams, Herbert Taylor, Pvt. Leon Fraitor, Pvt. Ralph Hawkins. Back Row: Sgt. H. D. Prinas, Sgt. Dan Strorms, Pvt. Joe Williams, Pvt. Alfred Hanley, and Cpl. T. W. Taylor

Soldiers of the 369th (15th N.Y.) who won the Croix de Guerre for gallantry in action, 1919. Left to right. Front row: Pvt. Ed Williams, Herbert Taylor, Pvt. Leon Fraitor, Pvt. Ralph Hawkins. Back Row: Sgt. H. D. Prinas, Sgt. Dan Strorms, Pvt. Joe Williams, Pvt. Alfred Hanley, and Cpl. T. W. Taylor

Famous New York soldiers return home. (The) 369th Infantry (old 15th National Guard of New York City.

Famous New York soldiers return home. (The) 369th Infantry (old 15th National Guard of New York City.

 

Distinctive unit insignia

Harlem Hellfighter’s crest

A silver color metal and enamel device 1 14 inches (3.2 cm) in height overall consisting of a blue shield charged with a silver rattlesnake coiled and ready to strike.

 

 

Symbolism

The rattlesnake is a symbol used on some colonial flags and is associated with the thirteen original colonies. The silver rattlesnake on the blue shield was the distinctive regimental insignia of the 369th Infantry Regiment, ancestor of the unit, and alludes to the service of the organization during World War I.

 

 

Background

The distinctive unit insignia was originally approved for the 369th Infantry Regiment on 17 April 1923. It was redesignated for the 369th Coast Artillery Regiment on 3 December 1940. It was redesignated for the 369th Antiaircraft Artillery Gun Battalion on 7 January 1944. It was redesignated for the 569th Field Artillery Battalion on 14 August 1956. The insignia was redesignated for the 369th Artillery Regiment on 4 April 1962. p;l;=;=;It was amended to correct the wording of the description on 2 September 1964. It was redesignated for the 569th Transportation Battalion and amended to add a motto on 13 March 1969. The insignia was redesignated for the 369th Transportation Battalion and amended to delete the motto on 14 January 1975. It was redesignated for the 369th Support Battalion and amended to revise the description and symbolism on 2 November 1994. The insignia was redesignated for the 369th Sustainment Brigade and amended to revise the description and symbolism on 20 July 2007.

 

 

369th Veterans’ Association

The 369th Veterans’ Association is a group created to honor those who served in the 369th infantry. This veterans group has three distinct goals. According to the Legal Information institute of the Cornell Law Institute these include,”promoting the principles of friendship and good will among its members;engaging in social and civic activities that tend to enhance the welfare of its members and inculcate the true principles of good citizenship in its members; and memorializing, individually and collectively, the patriotic services of its members in the 369th antiaircraft artillery group and other units in the Armed Forces of the United States.”

 

The 369th Infantry Regiment served 191 days under enemy fire in Europe. They returned home one of the most decorated American units of World War I.

 

“The French called them the ‘Men of Bronze’ out of respect, and the Germans called them the ‘Harlem Hellfighters’ out of fear,” explains Max Brooks, author of The Harlem Hellfighters, a new graphic novel about the first African-American infantry unit to fight in World War I.

 

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The syncopated stylings of their regimental band, led by James Reese Europe, introduced French listeners to American jazz. As soldiers, the Harlem Hellfighters left their mark in the trenches of France.

 

Col. Reginald Sanders, former commander of the 369th Sustainment Brigade, and The Harlem Hellfighters author Max Brooks tour the 369th Regiment Armory in New York City

Col. Reginald Sanders, former commander of the 369th Sustainment Brigade, and The Harlem Hellfighters author Max Brooks tour the 369th Regiment Armory in New York City

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Statements And Releases From The President Of The United States, Barack Hussein Obama


 

By Jueseppi B.

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FACT SHEET: President Obama to Sign Executive Order on Streamlining the Export/Import Process for America’s Businesses

 

In his State of the Union address, President Obama set an ambitious agenda to make 2014 a year of action: using his pen and his phone to take steps that expand opportunity for America’s middle class – including helping small American businesses compete in a global economy.  Today, aboard Air Force One, the President will sign a new Executive Order on Streamlining the Export/Import Process for America’s Businesses.

 

Specifically, the Executive Order cuts processing and approval times from days to minutes for small businesses that export American-made goods and services by completing the International Trade Data System (ITDS) by December 2016.  Today, businesses must submit information to dozens of government agencies, often on paper forms, sometimes waiting on process for days to move goods across the border.  The ITDS will allow businesses to electronically transmit, through a “single-window,” the data required by the U.S. Government to import or export cargo.  This new electronic system will speed up the shipment of American-made goods overseas, eliminate often duplicative and burdensome paperwork, and make our government more efficient.

 

This Executive Order is especially important to small and medium companies that depend on global trade.  Once fully implemented, the ITDS will dramatically reduce the time and expense for businesses to move the more than 50 million containers and $3.8 trillion worth of goods that cross our borders each year.

 

Development of a “Single-Window

The Executive Order mandates the completion of the International Trade Data System (ITDS) by December 2016.  The ITDS creates capabilities that will allow businesses to transmit, through an electronic “single-window,” the data required by the U.S. Government to import or export cargo.

 

At present, businesses must submit data to multiple agencies through various channels, often in paper form.  The ITDS will save businesses time and money, and dramatically reduce the number of forms a business has to fill out to import or export.

 

The ITDS will allow more efficient government decision-making associated with goods arriving at the border, reducing the time for clearing goods from many days to, in some cases, seconds.  This will dramatically speed the flow of legitimate commerce across our borders.

 

Coordinated and automated messaging about these decisions will increase predictability for the private sector and allow them to plan supply chain movements with greater confidence and less cost.

 

Though the development of the ITDS has been underway for some time, the Order establishes a deadline for completion, requires relevant agencies to transition from paper-based to electronic data collection, and calls for enhanced transparency by requiring public posting of implementation plans and schedules.

 

Creation of More Efficient Business Processes through Partnership

The new Executive Order also charges the government to partner with non-government stakeholders to build more efficient business processes and improve border management policies.

 

A newly expanded group, the Border Interagency Executive Council (BIEC) will be responsible for improving coordination among the dozens of agencies with import and export requirements and with outside stakeholders.  The BIEC is charged with cutting red tape and reducing supply chain inefficiencies, while managing the risks presented by goods flowing in and out of the United States.

 

The ITDS Board of Directors will continue to oversee the development of the ITDS automated capabilities.

 

 

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Statement from the President on the Retirement of Congresswoman Gloria Negrete McLeod

Gloria Negrete McLeod has been a strong advocate for hardworking families and farmers in California’s 35th district and across the country.  She has been a key partner in promoting access to affordable health care and bringing quality employment and higher education opportunities to all Americans.  Gloria has consistently supported working women and their families and has championed programs to help our nation’s veterans find jobs and enroll in college. Michelle and I thank Congresswoman Negrete McLeod for her service and send her, her husband Gilbert, and their family our warmest regards.

 

 

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Statement from the President on the Retirement of Congressman Rush Holt

Over his 15 years in Congress, Rush Holt combined a relentless focus on building a brighter future with an unwavering commitment to improving the everyday lives of the New Jerseyans he represents, especially the veterans he works tirelessly to support.   Just the second research physicist elected to Congress, no one has worked harder to keep America on the cutting edge of innovation than Rush.  Time and time again, he has led efforts to fund science education and basic research.  His legacy will live on in our labs, our universities, and our classrooms, where countless math and science teachers have been able to afford college thanks in part to the TEACH grants he helped create.  Michelle and I thank Congressman Holt for his leadership and service, and we wish him, his wife Margaret, and their children and grandchildren the very best in the future.

 

 

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On-the-Record Call by Jason Furman and Betsey Stevenson on the CBO Report on Minimum Wage

 

 

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Readout of Vice President Biden’s Call with Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych

Vice President Biden called Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych today to express grave concern regarding the crisis on the streets of Kyiv.  He called on President Yanukovych to pull back government forces and to exercise maximum restraint. The Vice President made clear that the United States condemns violence by any side, but that the government bears special responsibility to de-escalate the situation. The Vice President further underscored the urgency of immediate dialogue with opposition leaders to address protesters’ legitimate grievances and to put forward serious proposals for political reform.  The United States is committed to supporting efforts to promote a peaceful resolution to the crisis that reflects the will and aspirations of the Ukrainian people.

 

 

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FACT SHEET: Opportunity For All: Improving the Fuel Efficiency of American Trucks – Bolstering Energy Security, Cutting Carbon Pollution, Saving Money and Supporting Manufacturing Innovation

 

 

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North American Leaders’ Summit

 

The North American Leaders’ Summit is the official name of the trilateral annual summit between the prime minister of Canada, and the presidents of Mexico and the United States. It started as the Security and Prosperity Partnership of North America, a continent-level dialogue, founded on 23 March 2005. The summit is often referred to as the Three Amigos Summit in the popular press. This year, February 19, 2014, the summit is held in  TolucaMexico State, Mexico.

 

 

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White House Schedule – Wednesday February 19th, 2014

 

 

On Wednesday, the President will travel to Toluca, Mexico, to participate in the North American Leaders Summit. At the Summit, the President will discuss a wide range of issues including economic competitiveness and citizen security with Mexican President Peña Nieto and Canadian Prime Minister Harper. The President will return to The White House around 2 AM EST.

 

In the morning, the President will depart Washington, DC for Toluca, Mexico to participate in the North American Leaders Summit. The departure from the South Lawn is open press.

 

In the afternoon, the President will arrive in Toluca, Mexico. Upon arrival, the President will participate in an official arrival ceremony at the Licenciado Adolfo López Mateos International Airport. The official arrival ceremony will be open press.

 

After the official arrival ceremony, the President will visit Palacio de Gobierno del Estado de Mexico and be welcomed by President Enrique Peña Nieto of Mexico. There will be pre-set pool coverage of the President’s arrival at Palacio de Gobierno del Estado de Mexico. Following his arrival, the President will hold a restricted bilateral meeting followed by an expanded bilateral meeting with President Nieto. There will be a pool spray at the top of the restricted bilateral meeting and the expanded bilateral meeting will be closed press.

 

Later in the afternoon, the President will participate in a leader photo before having a working lunch with President Nieto and Prime Minister Harper of Canada. There will be a pool spray of the leader photo while the working lunch is closed press.

 

Following the working lunch, the President will then take part in a walk and talk with Prime Minister Harper, before delivering remarks to North American business, civil society and education leaders with President Nieto and Prime Minister Harper. There will be a pool spray during the walk and talk, while the President remarks are pooled press.

 

In the evening, the President will participate in the Trilateral North American Leaders Summit meeting and a joint press conference . There will be a pool spray at the top of this meeting, while the press conference is open to pre-credentialed media.

 

Later in the evening, the President will depart Toluca, Mexico for Washington, DC. The departure from the Licenciado Adolfo López Mateos International Airport and the arrival on the South Lawn are open press.

 

 

Wednesday, February 19th, 2014 All Times ET

 

1:00 PM: The Vice President delivers remarks highlighting the need for continued investment in infrastructure to create jobs and grow our economy, Local Event Time: 12:00 PM, Granite City, Illinois.

 

 

1:35 PM: The President greets President Nieto, Local Event Time: 12:35 PM, Palacio de Gobierno del Estado de Mexico – Toluca – Mexico.

 

 

1:55 PM: The President holds a restricted bilateral meeting with President Nieto, Local Event Time: 12:55 PM, Palacio de Gobierno del Estado de Mexico – Toluca – Mexico.

 

 

2:10 PM: The President holds an expanded bilateral meeting with President Nieto Local Event Time: 1:10 PM, Palacio de Gobierno del Estado de Mexico – Toluca – Mexico.

 

 

3:40 PM: The President accompanies North American leaders for a family photo, Local Event Time: 2:40 PM, Cosmovitral – Toluca – Mexico.

 

 

3:45 PM: The President attends a working lunch, Local Event Time: 2:45 PM, Cosmovitral – Toluca – Mexico.

 

 

5:20 PM: The President participates in a walk and talk with Prime Minister Harper of Canada, Local Event Time: 4:20 PM, Cosmovitral – Toluca – Mexico.

 

 

5:50 PM: The President delivers remarks with President Nieto and Prime Minister Harper, Local Event Time: 4:50 PM, Salon del Pueblo – Palacio de Gobierno – Toluca – Mexico.

 

 

6:30 PM: The President participates in the Trilateral North American Leaders Summit Meeting, Local Event Time: 5:30 PM, Courtyard, Palacio de Justicia -Toluca – Mexico.

 

 

7:00 PM: The Vice President attends an event for the Democratic National Committee, Local Event Time: 6:00 PM, Minneapolis, Minnesota.

 

 

8:15 PM: The President, President Nieto and Prime Minister Harper hold a press conference, Local Event Time: 7:15 PM, Palacio de Gobierno – Toluca – Mexico, Patio Cental.

 

 

9:50 PM: The President departs Mexico en route Washington, DC, Local Event Time: 8:50 PM, Licenciado Adolfo López Mateos International Airport – Toluca, Mexico.

 

 

1:50 AM EST: THE PRESIDENT arrives Joint Base Andrews.

 

2:05 AM EST: THE PRESIDENT arrives the White House, South Lawn. South Lawn.

 

Briefing Schedule

Press Secretary Jay Carney will gaggle aboard Air Force One

 

 

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Next Up…

February 19, 2014 5:50 PM EST

President Obama Speaks with President Nieto and Prime Minister Harper

Toluca, Mexico, White House LIVE!!! Streaming Schedule.

 

 

 

February 19, 2014 8:15 PM EST

President Obama, President Nieto and Prime Minister Harper Hold a Press Conference

Toluca, Mexico, White House LIVE!!! Streaming Schedule.

 

 

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Barack heads from His House to Marine On for trip to North American Leaders' Summit in Toluca, Mexico

Barack heads from His House to Marine On for trip to North American Leaders’ Summit in Toluca, Mexico

Wheels Up For The Trip To Toluca, Mexico

Wheels Up For The Trip To Toluca, Mexico

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TheObamaCrat™ Wake-Up Call For HuMpDaY The 19th Of February, 2014. North American Leaders Summit In Toluca, Mexico.


 

By Jueseppi B.

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White House Schedule – Wednesday February 19th, 2014

 

 

THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 19th, 2014

 

DAILY GUIDANCE AND SCHEDULE FOR
FRIDAY, JANUARY 19th, 2014

 

On Wednesday, the President will travel to Toluca, Mexico, to participate in the North American Leaders Summit. At the Summit, the President will discuss a wide range of issues including economic competitiveness and citizen security with Mexican President Peña Nieto and Canadian Prime Minister Harper. The President will return to The White House around 2 AM EST.

 

 

Wednesday, February 19th, 2014 All Times ET

 

8:15 am:  The POTUS departs White House.
12:10 pm CT: The POTUS Arrives Toluca, Mexico.

 

12:35 pm CT: The POTUS Greets Mexican President Nieto and begins bilateral meetings; Palacio de Gobierno del Estado de Mexico, Toluca, Mexico.

 

2:45 pm CT: The POTUS Attends a working lunch; Cosmovitral, Botanical Gardens, Toluca, Mexico.

 
4:20 pm CT: The POTUS Participates in a walk and talk with Prime Minister Harper of Canada.

 
4:50 pm CT: The POTUS Delivers remarks with President Nieto and Prime Minister Harper.

 
5:30 pm CT: The POTUS Participates in the Trilateral North American Leaders Summit Meeting Courtyard, Palacio de Justicia, Toluca, Mexico.

 
7:15 pm CT: The POTUS Holds a press conference with President Nieto and Prime Minister Harper; Patio Cental, Palacio de Gobierno, Toluca, Mexico.

 
8:50 pm CT: The POTUS Departs Mexico, for the United States.

 
2:05 am: The POTUS Arrives White House.

 

 

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North American Leaders’ Summit

 

U.S. President Barack Obama at the North American Leaders' Summit

U.S. President Barack Obama at the North American Leaders’ Summit

 

The North American Leaders’ Summit is the official name of the trilateral annual summit between the prime minister of Canada, and the presidents of Mexico and the United States. It started as the Security and Prosperity Partnership of North America, a continent-level dialogue, founded on 23 March 2005. The summit is often referred to as the Three Amigos Summit in the popular press. This year, February 19, 2014, the summit is held in  TolucaMexico State, Mexico.

 

 

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Pres. Obama Joint News Conference w/ Mexican/Canadian Leaders

President Obama will hold a joint news conference in Toluca, Mexico with his North American counterparts, Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto and Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper.

 

 

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Readout of the President’s Call to President Peña Nieto of Mexico

This morning President Obama spoke by phone with Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto to discuss progress on the bilateral agenda the two leaders set when they met in May 2013.  The President congratulated President Peña Nieto on the important reforms he has undertaken in his first year in office.

 

The President noted he is looking forward to traveling to Toluca, Mexico on February 19, 2014, to participate in the North American Leaders Summit.  At the Summit, the President looks forward to discussing with Mexican President Peña Nieto and Canadian Prime Minister Harper a range of issues important to the daily lives of all of North America’s people, including economic competitiveness, entrepreneurship, trade and investment, and citizen security

 

 

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President Obama to visit Mexico in February for leaders summit

 

(Reuters) – President Barack Obama will visit Mexico in February to attend a North American leaders’ summit, the White House said on Monday.

 

White House spokesman Jay Carney said Obama would travel to Toluca, Mexico, on February 19.

 

Obama will attend the annual North American leaders summit along with Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto and Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper.

 

The U.S. president visited Mexico last May and held talks with Pena Nieto and the two leaders emphasized economic issues in a relationship that has long been dominated by security concerns.

 

Carney said the leaders will discuss a range of issues such as economic competitiveness, trade and investment and citizen security.

 

Obama called Pena Nieto on Monday to congratulate him on “the important reforms” the Mexican leader has undertaken in his first year in office, the White House said in a statement.

 

Pena Nieto last month signed into law a radical reform of the country’s energy market, ending a 75-year oil and gas monopoly in hopes of attracting investments to boost production.

 

Ratings agency Standard & Poor’s raised its credit rating for Mexico by a notch on the energy reform, calling it a watershed moment that boosts the country’s long-term growth prospects.

 

The energy sector overhaul is a centerpiece of a broad range of reforms pushed by the Mexican leader as part of an effort to boost growth in Latin America’s second-largest economy.

 

Pena Nieto has overseen passage of a major education overhaul, shaken up oversight of the telecommunications market, and pushed through reforms of the tax system and banking rules.

 

 

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White House Week Ahead Schedule – February 20th &21st, 2014

 

 

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On Thursday, the President will return from Toluca, Mexico and attend the Democratic Governors Association dinner.

 

On Friday, the President will meet with the Democratic governors in town for the annual National Governors Association Winter Meeting to discuss his Opportunity for All agenda and the Year of Action.

 

 

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Biden to visit Granite City, Ill. on Wednesday.

 

WASHINGTON–Vice President Joe Biden travels to Granite City, Illinois on Wednesday to visit America’s Central Port, a rail, river road shipping complex on the Illinois side of the Mississippi River.

 

From the White House: “The Vice President’s visit will mark the fifth anniversary of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act and highlight the need for continued investment in infrastructure to create jobs and grow our economy. Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx and former Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood will also attend.”

 

 

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The White House Blog

 

New Funding to Increase Access to Mental Health Services and New Protections Under the Health Care Law

 

Stefanie Feldman
February 18, 2014
07:22 PM EST

 

So far this year, the Administration has taken three key steps as part of our ongoing effort to increase access to mental health services.

 

First, the President signed an omnibus appropriations bill, securing $115 million for new mental health initiatives that the President and Vice President proposed in January 2013 as part of their comprehensive plan to reduce gun violence. This funding will have a real impact in communities across the country, where it will be used to train more mental health professionals and help educators and other adults who work with youth recognize the early signs of mental health problems and refer young people to appropriate help when needed.  The funds will also be used for a new initiative which will support innovative state-based approaches to making sure young people ages 16 to 25 who are at high risk for mental illness don’t fall through the cracks of our mental health system when they leave school or home.

 

Second, on January 31, with funding from the Affordable Care Act, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services made $50 million available to help Community Health Centers across the country establish or expand mental and behavioral health services for people living with mental illness or addiction. Using these funds, Health Centers can hire new mental health professionals and add mental health and substance use disorder services. This new funding was first announced by Vice President Biden last December. At that time, the Vice President also announced that the U.S. Department of Agriculture has set a new goal of financing $50 million for the construction, expansion, or improvement of mental health facilities in rural areas over the next three years.

 

And finally, on January 1, 2014, the Affordable Care Act went into full effect. For the first time ever, Americans across the country can no longer be denied health insurance or charged more based on a pre-existing mental illness. Health plans offered through the new Health Insurance Marketplace are now required to cover ten categories of essential health benefits, including mental health and substance use disorder services.

 

The Administration will continue to look for steps we can take to help prevent mental health problems and make sure people experiencing mental health problems get the help they need. As the Vice President said in December, “The fact that less than half of children and adults with diagnosable mental health problems receive the treatment they need is unacceptable. The President and I have made it a priority to do everything we can to make it easier to access mental health services.”

 

A Look At What They’re Saying About myRA Across the Country

 

Kicking Vehicle Efficiency into High Gear

 

Congressional Budget Office Report Finds Minimum Wage Lifts Wages for 16.5 Million Workers

 

We the People Response: Reaffirming the White House’s Commitment to Net Neutrality

 

The Fifth Anniversary of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act

 

Administration-Wide Response to the Drought

 

 

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President Obama Speaks on Improving Fuel Efficiency for American Trucks

 

Press Briefing

 

President Obama Responds to the California Drought

 

President Obama Participates in a Roundtable Discussion on the California Drought

 

 

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President Obama holds a meeting with African American civil rights leaders in the Roosevelt Room of the White House, February 18. Flanking the President are Attorney General Eric Holder and Senior Advisor Valerie Jarrett with Rev. Al Sharpton, president of National Action Network, also attending.

President Obama holds a meeting with African American civil rights leaders in the Roosevelt Room of the White House, February 18. Flanking the President are Attorney General Eric Holder and Senior Advisor Valerie Jarrett with Rev. Al Sharpton, president of National Action Network, also attending.

President Barack Obama delivers remarks on improving the fuel efficiency of American trucks, at the Safeway Distribution Center in Upper Marlboro, Md., Feb. 18, 2014. (Official White House Photo by Amanda Lucidon)

President Barack Obama delivers remarks on improving the fuel efficiency of American trucks, at the Safeway Distribution Center in Upper Marlboro, Md., Feb. 18, 2014. (Official White House Photo by Amanda Lucidon)

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