To the Editor:

Since African-Americans arrived in this country as slaves from Africa, thousands upon thousands have made major contributions to America.

From law, music, business to politics, African-Americans dare to open doors that had previously been closed to them because of the color of their skin.

Most of these men and women were faced with difficulties of being black in a race-conscious society had to make their way out of poverty as well.

The women had to overcome the barrier of being female in a male-dominated world, but were successful despite obstacles in their way.

They all created a legacy of determination and excellence that will not be forgotten.

I will name a few.

Crispus Attucks was the first American to die in the cause of independence.

Ronald McNair was the first black American to die in the effort to control outer space.

Matthew Hension was one of the first two humans to reach the North Pole.

Charles Drew invented a technique for storing blood plasma that saved countless lives.

Gen. Colin Powell, Jackie Robinson, opera singer Marian Anderson, tennis player Arthur Ashe and 19-time grand slam major winner Serena Williams, civil rights leaders Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Dr. Ralph Bunche became the first black American to receive the Nobel Prize for helping to bring about peace between Israel and the Middle East.

A young man who lived and grew up in New Milford, Lt. Robert Peagler, was killed during World War II to save the lives of his troops.

And let’s not forgot former President Barack Obama, who was our 44th president.

In spite of the obstacles in their way, they created a legacy of determination and excellence.

Fran Smith

New Milford