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US Embassy honours African-Americans' achievements

Mar 1, 2011, 12:20 PM | Article By: Sainey M.K. Marenah

The United States Embassy in Banjul has observed Black History Month in grand style with a series of activities and festivities over the weekend at various venues, all geared towards honouring the landmark achievements and the contributions made by African-Americans to the development of the United States of America.

Held at the grounds of the Management Development Institute in Kanifing, the event, among others, featured plays, theatrical performances, live music and a showcase of artistic works. "Black History Month is a time of contemplation and celebration. It reaffirms the United States' link to Africa, and commemorates the social, economic, cultural and political contributions of African Americans who, despite slavery and prejudice, helped build and continue to shape our country today," United States chief diplomat in the Gambia, Pamela Ann White, said recently in a statement she delivered ahead of the celebration.

Every year in February, the United States celebrates Black History Month. It is a chance to reflect on the history, contributions and achievements by African-Americans throughout the country’s existence.

The celebration, which started last Friday at the MDI, was also characterized by live performances by some Gambian artistes.

The celebration also continued on Saturday with academic games, and a quiz competition for four high schools, namely Marina International School, Gambia Methodist Academy, SBEC High School and West African International School held at the American Corner.

The quiz competition was won by Marina International School, which got a trophy. Each winning team member went home with a gift bag and folder.

The Saturday competition was witnessed by the Deputy Chief of Mission at US Embassy, Cindy Gregg, and officials of the embassy.

"First of all, the Black History Month celebration in February is not new, because it was started 40 to 45 years back by Mr. Whitson, and the State Department took over the whole idea about 10 years ago. We dedicated the month of February as Black History Month.  A lot of people don't know that African Americans were some of the greatest inventors; they invented the stop light, and the washing machine.

Muhammed Njie, president of University of The Gambia Debating Association, said celebrating the Black History Month is a dynamic and unique activity, in many ways, considering the impact African Americans had on the development of America.

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