A law signed on Friday by Gov. Andrew Cuomo will establish the 400 Years of African-American History Commission, a panel that will be tasked with developing activities throughout the state as a way of recognizing the arrival of the first enslaved Africans in the colonies.
“This landmark anniversary is an opportunity to once again reflect on the evils of slavery and to honor the struggle and triumph of centuries of African-Americans who have fought against barriers of racial discrimination and enriched and enhanced the fabric of our country,” Cuomo said in a statement.
“The resilience, bravery and contributions of African-Americans will be preserved for our memory by this Commission so that New Yorkers never forget their stories or sacrifice.”
The commission will be composed of people who have an expertise in African-American art, culture and history, and be required to submit a report to the governor with recommendations by June 2022.
The bill creating the commission was sponsored by Sen. Leroy Comrie and Assemblywoman Taylor Darling.
“This is a valiant effort for New York State to organize a group of individuals who will spread awareness and create effective plans to combat the impact of the last 400 years of slavery in America,” Darling said in a statement. “Many of today’s issues impacting the African American community are a product of our enslavement. I look forward to the great work of this commission as we develop real solutions to progress this beautiful and disenfranchised community.”