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    America's Historically Black Colleges and Universities
    (HBCUs) are living monuments to the cause that has driven each
    generation of our citizens in the task of perfecting our
    Union -- helping ensure that all people can experience the
    fullest measure of equality, justice, and possibility.
    Embodying the notion that the ability to pursue a higher
    education should be an opportunity available to all, rather
    than a privilege for a few, these campuses were built from a
    determination to widely and profoundly expand the reach of our
    country's promise. During National Historically Black Colleges
    and Universities Week, we celebrate this aspiration and reaffirm
    our support for HBCUs.
    Rendered possible by the extraordinary sacrifices and
    commitment of women and men who resolved to make real and
    enduring the new birth of freedom that echoed across our country
    following the end of the Civil War, the rise of these proud
    institutions marked the beginning of a new chapter in our
    national narrative. With each generation, HBCUs have shaped
    America for the better in indelible ways. From a pastor who
    would give voice to equality's cause to the great-grandson of
    a slave who would reach the bench of our highest court; from
    pioneers of medical and scientific breakthroughs to creators of
    innovative and prosperous businesses; from artists who expand
    the boundaries of expression to historians who illuminate our
    past and help us write our future, so much of the progress that
    has come to define America has been carried forward by
    graduates, academics, and leaders of these colleges and
    Since I took office, my Administration has focused on
    expanding opportunity and opening doors of higher education for
    more people. We have increased Pell Grants, expanded student
    loan assistance going directly to students, cut taxes for those
    paying tuition, allowed students to cap their Federal loan
    payments at 10 percent of their income, and created the College
    Scorecard to assist prospective students in understanding their
    options for pursuing a higher education. Today, more Americans
    are earning a degree in post-secondary education than ever
    before, and HBCUs are playing an important role. In the 6 years
    since I signed an Executive Order bolstering the White House
    Initiative on HBCUs, we have helped ensure that more students
    have greater opportunities and that these institutions can
    benefit from a fuller range of Federal programs and assistance.
    HBCUs and community colleges help build our Nation's economy and
  • strengthen the middle class, which is why I am working to make
  • 2 years of community college free for hardworking students
  • across our country through America's College Promise -- a proposal that also helps 4-year HBCUs provide more low-income
  • students with up to 2 years of college for free or at reduced
    This week, we recognize the ways in which HBCUs are central
    to our experience as a Nation and recommit ourselves to the
    work that lies ahead. Let us honor the spirit in which these
    institutions were constructed by reaffirming the enduring truths
    at their core, and let us continue endeavoring to ensure all
    people have the chance to access higher education and secure
    ever greater opportunity.
    NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the
    United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in
    me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do
    hereby proclaim October 23 through October 29, 2016, as National
    Historically Black Colleges and Universities Week. I call
    upon educators, public officials, professional organizations,
    corporations, and all Americans to observe this week with
    appropriate programs, ceremonies, and activities that
    acknowledge the countless contributions these institutions
    and their alumni have made to our country.
    IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this
    twenty-first day of October, in the year of our Lord
    two thousand sixteen, and of the Independence of the
    United States of America the two hundred and forty-first. BARACK OBAMA