Army honors African-American history, contributions in February

| February 24, 2011 | 0 Comments

Sgt. 1st Class Anthony Florence
Army News Service

WASHINGTON — Every year during the month of February, the Army pays special tribute to African-American Soldiers and civilians.

This year’s African-American History Month officially began Feb. 1; the U.S. Census Bureau deemed this observance as the “time to recall and honor the many contributions to our nation made by people of African descent.”

In 1926, G. Carter Woodsen, a black historian, helped raise cultural awareness by starting Black History Week. In 1976, the week was lengthened to a month and observed in black schools and churches around the country.

President Harry Truman’s Executive Order integrated the U.S. armed forces in 1948, and since that time, the Army has been racially diverse and provided equal opportunities to all Soldiers.

African-Americans, however, have been involved with the U.S. military for more than 200 years, beginning with the Revolutionary War and continuing on to today’s conflicts in the Middle East and other overseas operations.

In 1986, President Ronald Reagan proclaimed the month of February as National Black (African-American) History Month.

As we focus on the contributions from African-Americans in the armed forces, many examples from the past and present stand out or have close ties to our own lives.

These examples include President Barrack Obama, who was elected the first black president of the Harvard Law Review; he broke down more barriers when he became the first African-American commander in chief of the U.S. armed forces.

A second example is Cathay Williams. In 1866, Williams became the first black female to enlist in the Army when she disguised herself as a man to serve her country as a Buffalo Soldier.

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Category: Army News Service, News, Observances

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