Major Executive Speeches

Remarks prepared for Delivery by
Director Robert S. Mueller, III
Federal Bureau of Investigation
Bonaparte Auditorium
February 24, 2005

Good morning. Thank you for coming today. And thank you to the Color Guard for their display of patriotism, and to Marc Staggers for singing our national anthem. My thanks also to the EEO Office for organizing today's event.

Black History Month is a time to celebrate our diversity. It is also a time to reflect on the accomplishments of African Americans throughout history, and to look forward to what diversity will mean to us in the future.

But we should not limit our celebration, or our commitment to diversity, only to the month of February. Remembering and embracing black history and the history of the many diverse groups in America should be a year-long commitment. We must make that commitment every day, and in every decision we make. To be successful, we must build on our diversity.

Black History Month is not just a celebration for African Americans. It is a celebration for all Americans, because black history is also American history – it is part of our unique history as a nation.

It spans from some of our darkest days – as in the time of slavery – to some of our brightest moments – as when Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. told us his dream of what America could be. Many of us feel a sense of pride being part of the FBI. We feel that same sense of pride recalling Dr. King’s dream for us.

For the FBI, our annual celebration of Black History Month is part of our ongoing commitment to diversity. Each one of us brings different histories, different heritages, and different perspectives to the table. These differences reflect the world we live in. It is that diversity which enriches our nation, and which will keep America strong in the future.

For no matter how diverse we are, we are part of the same team, with the same goal – to protect America. As a team, we will work to protect our fellow citizens from the threat of terrorism. As a team, we will fight to protect the civil rights of all Americans. And as a team, we will foster a strong, dedicated FBI, ready to handle today’s challenges at home and abroad.

The strength of our diversity can be seen when we look at the history of our guest of honor, William “Ready” Cash.

When you look at today’s major league ball teams, you probably do not notice that there are players of all races and ethnic backgrounds. Today we take that diversity for granted, but it was not always a level playing field.

Before 1947, African Americans were not permitted to play in the all-white Major Leagues. In the 1920s, 30s, and 40s, at the height of segregation, the National Negro Baseball League recruited thousands of African American ball players, who played to packed stands around the country.

Bill Cash was a catcher for the League from 1939 until 1955. For 16 years, he excited fans of the game and paved the way for people of all races. He is here to share his part of America’s history with us, and we are very pleased to have him. Please welcome Bill Cash.