How about just celebrating him for what he did. Who cares about his skin pegmentation?
At any rate, you're presenting a false dichotomy. It's not an either/or proposition. They -are- celebrating what he did; it's all the more impressive that he did it while being black, in a time and place where that was a major obstacle.
A lot of e.g. white western Europeans would have spent a lot of money to get into this position.
(Note: I am not advocating a handicap system for Europeans! :) )
Really, if you want to play the "other people have it harder" game, I will readily bow out; of course there are.
But within the confines of "here's someone who had a major influence in his profession", to dismiss his skin color as not being of note, to ignore the additional obstacles society would have placed in front of him, is to deny him some credit for having overcome those obstacles. That's why it's mentioned, that's why it matters. I agree, ideally it wouldn't matter; the fact is is that because to some people being black is a detriment means that being black includes extra obstacles, and it's worth recognizing those who overcome them.
My point is that for this particular thing, location is of supreme importance. Skin color is really, really far down on the list.