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African American history month Feb 2014

By Kevin Hoover Barksdale African American Private Org president

Barksdale initiated National African American History Month's activities Feb. 3 with a proclamation signed by Col. Andrew J. Gebara, 2nd Bomb Wing commander.

The proclamation states for everyone to celebrate the contributions African Americans have made in American history. But why is commemorating African American history important?

It all began in 1926 when Carter G. Woodson, an African American scholar, established Negro History Week. His hope was to raise awareness of the many contributions African Americans made. He chose the second week of February to coincide with the birthdays of two major contributors to African American history: Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass. In 1976, President Gerald R. Ford expanded the week to a month, stating in his message, "In celebrating Black History Month, we can take satisfaction from this recent progress in the realization of the ideals envisioned by our Founding Fathers, but, even more than this, we can seize the opportunity to honor the too often neglected accomplishments of black Americans in every area of endeavor throughout our history."

Every year since, every American president has proclaimed February as African American History Month. This month reminds us the importance of human rights and the significant influence this distinct culture has had on American culture as a whole. Let's not forget that for first time in our history Americans have elected their first black President. African American contributions in the area of politics, music, art, literature, religion, cuisine, and other fields are countless.

Along with the proclamation ceremony and health fair at the Barksdale Exchange foyer, children's stories read at the base library, and a Chiefs forum held at Chapel 2 Annex, the Barksdale AFB African American Heritage Private Organization also organized its annual Bossier/Caddo Middle School Essay Contest luncheon at the Barksdale Club from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Feb. 20. The theme for this event is "The Golden Jubilee of the Civil Rights Act". The guest speaker will be Mr. Arthur G. Hatcher, Jr., the first African American member of the Senior Executive Service for Air Force Global Strike Command, and current Director of Communications. Tickets for this event will be available for $22 through designated POCs. If you have any questions or would like to volunteer for any of the events in February, contact Mr. Kevin W. Hoover (President AAHC) at kevin.hoover.3.ctr@us.af.mil or Maj. Wesley Ryan (Essay Luncheon Coordinator) at wesley.ryan@us.af.mil.