President Obama's staff screened a video of Obama reflecting on his time in office, where he said, “If you believe in something, chase it, work on it.” Obama entered the room with the first lady. The crowd leapt to their feet holding their phones aloft the entire time. First Lady Michelle Obama wore a white dress with gold embellishments.
The crowd was pretty boisterous. President Obama had to shush them, “Now come on, ya’ll, I’m only going to be a second,” he chastised them, at which point everyone was fairly quiet except for a crying baby. “Except for that little guy,” Obama added. “He’s hungry.” Obama thanked his assembled guests. “For the past seven years, everybody in this room have been incredible supporters of me and Michelle,” he said. “I just want to start out by saying thank you.”
The President emphasized Black History Month should be seen as “a compilation of greatest hits” that includes the March on Washington and a series of feats by African American sports figures. “Black History Month shouldn’t be treated as though it is somehow separate from our collective American history,” he said. “This should be more than just a commemoration of particular events.”
“It’s about taking an unvarnished look at the past so we can take a better look at the future,” Obama added.
Obama praised young civil rights activists, as he had earlier in the Roosevelt Room. “They are participants making history. It’s alive,” he said. “So I want to give a special shout out to the young people here today… And that’s the thing about our democracy: it takes all of us.” Obama said, “Supreme Court appointments are important,” the crowd cheered. “But ultimately everything comes down to the constant perseverance… of citizens like you.”
President Obama spoke for about 10 minutes, moved along the grip & greet rope line before departing.