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African American Employment Program

Background

The Department of Commerce strives to create a culture that encourages collaboration, flexibility, and fairness that enables employees to participate to their fullest potential.  The African American Employment Program (AAEP) enhances the Department’s efforts to comply with the mandates of Executive Order 13583, Establishing a Coordinated Government-wide Initiative to Promote Diversity and Inclusion in the Federal Workforce, and Executive Order 11478, Equal Employment Opportunity in the Federal Government.

The AAEP develops, plans, and implements strategies that enable the Department to recruit, hire, promote, and retain a more diverse, qualified workforce. In addition, the AAEP helps the Department address potential discriminatory and/or inequitable practices in hiring and employment and works to eliminate barriers to full participation for AAEP in the workplace.

Program Manager: Monique Dismuke

African American History Month

February is designated as African American History Month or Black History Month to commemorate the rich and varied contributions of African Americans to the culture and history of the United States and the world. Negro History Week was initiated in 1926, Dr. Carter G. Woodson, a Harvard Ph.D., who 11 years earlier founded the Association for the Study of Afro- American Life and History. In those early days, the words Afro and Black were seldom used. It was Dr. Woodson's hope that through this special observance, all Americans would be reminded of their ethnic roots, and that “togetherness” in the United States racial groups would develop out of a mutual respect. Dr. Woodson chose February to recognize Negro History Week because it contains the birthdays of two iconic figures in African American history, Frederick Douglass and Abraham Lincoln.

In 1976, Negro History week was expanded to include the entire month of February and became known as "Black History Month", also known today as "African American History Month." From its initiation, African-American History Month has evolved to incorporate the views and expressions of many ethnic and social groups, not just African Americans.

Each February, the Department plans activities designed to provide cultural awareness, debunk stereotypes, and recognize the contributions and achievements of African Americans represented in our workforce.

Guidance and Regulation

·         Executive Order 13583, Establishing a Coordinated Government-wide Initiative to Promote Diversity and Inclusion in the Federal Workforce, August 18, 2011

·         Executive Order 11478, Equal employment opportunity in the Federal Government

·         29 Code of Federal Regulation, Part 1614.102(b)(4), Federal implementation of the Civil Rights Act