President Biden and Theodore Blunt

On Monday, February 27, Associate Professor of Professional Practice Marla Blunt-Carter and her father Theodore "Ted" Blunt, a Rutgers School of Social Work alum, were invited to attend a Black History Month event at the White House hosted by President Joe Biden and Dr. Jill Biden. 

“It’s important to say from the White House for the entire country to hear: History matters. History matters and Black history matters,” President Biden said, to murmurs of agreement from the roughly 400 people inside the East Room of the White House. “I can’t just choose to learn what we want to know. We learn what we should know. We have to learn everything, the good, the bad, the truth, and who we are as a nation.”

Biden added, “That’s what great nations do.”

As fellow Delawareans involved in the political arena, Blunt-Carter and Blunt have longstanding relationships with President Biden. Prior to teaching at Rutgers School of Social Work, Blunt-Carter held numerous positions in politics including Projects Manager in the Senate office of then U.S. Senator Joe Biden and as State Director for the 2008 Obama/Biden presidential campaign. Blunt's career spanned the housing authority, a local school district, and public office in Wilmington, where he served on the city council for 16 years and as its president for an additional eight years.

Marla Blunt-Carter with Theodore Blunt and Darius Brown

To their surprise and delight, President Biden called Blunt on stage during his speech. Describing Blunt as an "All-American" to attendees, the President went on to share a bit about Blunt's impact: "Not only can he play ball, the reason his daughters have this kind of, I don’t know, spark to change the world is because he did that too." 

President Biden also recognized Blunt-Carter's role in his career: "His one daughter [Marla Blunt-Carter] ran my office in Delaware for a long time. The reason I’m here. And his second daughter [Lisa Blunt Rochester] here happens to be the Congressman from the state of Delaware."

Vice President Kamala Harris, the first Black and south Asian woman to hold the office, also spoke at the event, sharing a similar message to the President: that Black history is “American history, living history, breathing history, history that we create every day.”

“Let us all be clear: We will not, as a nation, build a better future for America by trying to erase America’s past,” Harris said.

Top administration officials, including Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, and several dozen Black lawmakers were among the hundreds in attendance at the Black History Month celebration at the White House. During the event, Biden rattled off his administration’s accomplishments for the Black community, including tapping a historic number of Black women to the federal judiciary and issuing an executive order to overhaul policing practices.