Today is the first day of Black History Month. We celebrate some of our most authentic Americans because, despite their arrival as slaves and their liberation from bondage, despite their emancipation through their faith in the Scriptures and the soundness of the American Constitution, despite their long walk to freedom and their ongoing march for respect and dignity, despite their memories of fire hoses and police dogs, despite their collective scars from the lash and the sword, despite their sacrifice before all the wealth piled by the bondsman’s centuries of unrequited toil – despite everything, the greatness of this community shines among the goodness of her people. We know their names, just as we read their words and memorize their speeches. But we must always remember – we have a duty to honor – the grandness of their deeds. That is why we owe them more than empty promises. We owe them more than a series of biannual or quadrennial pledges from the pulpit of a church, where politicians know the verses but not the spirit of godly devotion. That is why our president asks for a chance to do better – that is why he seeks to appeal to the better angels of our nature – by freeing blacks from schools where education is a myth and literacy is a dream, from neighborhoods where safety is a cruel joke and opportunity is a lie, from streets where peace is dead and gunfire is the sound of the shortness of life. Our president demands more than a month to fix these problems. He intends to have his administration solve these challenges, if necessary for years, if necessary alone. We shall overcome.