(CNN) – President Obama will become the first African American in history to address a joint session of Congress Tuesday night.
Although a number of prominent black officials from around the globe, including Nelson Mandela in 1990 and 1994 and Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf in 2006, have addressed Congress in the past, no African American has ever been tapped to address both houses of Congress from the chamber of the House of Representatives, as Obama will do Tuesday.
Technically, only U.S. Presidents can deliver a solo address before a joint session, which is an actual working session of Congress, whereas prominent Americans and foreign heads of state are invited to address joint meetings, which are less formal gatherings.
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