First Lady Michelle Obama welcomed about 200 Washington, D.C. students to the White House on Wednesday for a Black History Month celebration. Daughters Sasha and Malia and grandmother-in-chief Marian Robinson also attended the festivities, which included a performance by the Grammy-winning, all-female singing group Sweet Honey in the Rock, reports the Associated Press.
Mrs. Obama provided a quick Black history lesson to the middle school students from three local schools, in which she asked the students if they knew that slaves helped build the White House; or that Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation in the White House bedroom named after him; or that Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. met with Presidents John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson to talk about ending segregation. The students told Mrs. Obama that they had, indeed, learned these facts.
“So you guys know your history,” Mrs. Obama responded. “That’s a good thing. That means your parents and teachers are doing their jobs.”
But Black history month isn’t just confined to textbooks, Mrs. Obama told the students. Teachers, parents and other family members deserve recognition as well. “Think about the extraordinary people who live in your own world…all those folks who play important roles in Black history and American history every single day,” Mrs. Obama said. She went on to tell the students that when it comes to making a difference, it’s the little things, like doing housework and trying their hardest, that count.
The White House hosts a Black History Month celebration every year, but this is the first time the event’s audience was made up of students. The Obamas continue to make good on an early promise to make the White House more accessible to the community.