Story and Photos by
Sgt. Gaelen Lowers
8th Theater Sustainment Command Public Affairs
SCHOFIELD BARRACKS — African-American History Month was observed at the Sgt. Smith Theater, here, Feb. 15.
The 8th Military Police Brigade, 8th Theater Sustainment Command, sponsored the event.
The theme for this year’s observance was “Black Women in American Culture and History.” The overall goal for the observance, as well as the month, is to increase awareness and knowledge of the African-American culture, diversity and accomplishments.
“From the American Revolution to the present, African-American women have played a myriad of critical roles in the making of our nation,” said Sgt. Davida Thompson of 8th MP Bde. and event narrator.
“Their labor, leadership, motherhood, patriotism, intellect and artistic expression have enriched both the African-American community and the nation as a whole,” Thompson said.
A slideshow honored several black women throughout American culture and history, including first lady Michelle Obama; Zora Neale Hurston, American folklorist, anthropologist and author; Rosa Parks, civil rights activist; and Ella Fitzgerald, vocalist.
Afterwards, those in attendance were treated to the local African dance and drum group, Badenyaa, which performed and danced to three traditional African songs, the last of which included audience participation.
The guest speaker was Libra Forde, co-founder of the nonprofit organization, Utopian Academics for Military Children. Forde said it was a privilege and honor to be in the presence of individuals who have made history and have pledged to continue to make history.
“This day, as many other days, brings an opportunity to be thankful for what we have and the people who have led the way,” Forde said. “What a selfless gift we have been given.”
She told the audience that over the years she has developed an appreciation for history. She said that knowing history helps society know where it’s at, and, more importantly, history helps identify opportunities.
“History is rich in information, experience and pride,” she said.
Forde said, most of the women mentioned, if not all, would say that they never did any of their work for fame, instead, to fulfill their passion.
“I equate these same sentiments in your presence,” she said. “I feel the same would be said by each of you if asked, years from now, ‘Why are you in the military?’ Though each of you may have a different answer to this question, it is timeless reciprocity that you are engaging in.”
Army honors the many accomplishments of African-Americans
February is African-American/Black History Month, a time during which the Army honors the many contributions made by African-Americans.
This year’s commemoration continues the tradition of excellence started by Dr. Carter G. Woodson. 2012 honors black women in American history and culture who have played a vital role in the history of the U.S. and the U.S. Army since the American Revolution.
Patriotism, loyalty and leadership, coupled with labor, intellect and artistic expression, have enriched the African-American community and the nation at large. In slavery and freedom, the struggles of blacks have been at the heart of the human experience.
Fighting against racism and sexism, black women have persevered to overcome adversity. The Army remains strong because it places great value in having different perspectives, approaches and skills, and because it values having ethnic and cultural diversity.
The Army has benefited from the leadership, intelligence and contributions of African-American women. From Harriet Tubman, a leader and conductor of the Underground Railroad; to Rosa Parks, the mother of the modern civil rights movement; to first lady Michelle Obama, these prominent women have courageously served as exceptional role models for all to emulate.
Today, the Army celebrates the recent promotion of Maj. Gen. Marcia Anderson, the Army’s first African-American female two star general. The Army also recognizes Tracey Pinson, the Army’s highest-ranking female, African-American senior executive service member.
These women and so many others are expressions of a vibrant culture in which African-American women play a critical role in the strength of the nation and the U.S. Army.
(Editor’s Note: Information compiled from Army news releases.)