WEST NEW YORK - The speaker of the New Jersey state Assembly commemorated Black History Month at a special church service Sunday in West New York.

Assembly Speaker Sheila Oliver is the first African-American woman in state history to preside over that branch of the New Jersey legislature.

She spoke at the Gethsemane Baptist Church, which has stood in West New York for 100 years.

In her remarks, Oliver said that it's critical for young African-Americans to appreciate the sacrifices made by black figures throughout history.