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Celebrating black history

By Cpl. John Wilkes | | March 7, 2013


The Tri-Command Commu­nity celebrated National Black History Month at the Naval Hospital Beaufort auditorium, Feb. 26.

The event, themed “At the Crossroads of Freedom and Equality: The Emancipation Proclamation and the March on Washington,” was held to commemorate the 150th anni­versary of President Abraham Lincoln’s signing of the Eman­cipation Proclamation and the 50th anniversary of Dr. Mar­tin Luther King Jr.’s March on Washington.

Black History Month, or Na­tional African American His­tory Month, is an annual cel­ebration of achievements by black Americans and a time for recognizing the central role of African Americans in U.S. his­tory. The event grew out of “Negro History Week.” Since 1976, every U.S. president has officially designated the month of February as Black History Month.

During the ceremony speech­es were read, songs were sung and an African dance was per­formed.

The opening remarks of the ceremony were provided by Navy Capt. Joan Queen, the first African American com­manding officer of Naval Hos­pital Beaufort.

“While there is still much work to be done until we are a nation that is truly color blind, today we can celebrate how far we have come in 150 years,” said Queen. “We must seize the opportunities that those who came before us have given us.”

African American service members in our country’s his­tory fought against inequality and injustice to establish the diverse and distinct culture of today.

“I think it’s very important for us to start saying let’s make it different, let’s work to make it different and not let all of the negative attitudes and comments be the only ones we hear,” said Lt. Col. Joseph Jones, the commanding officer of 2nd Recruit Training Battal­ion aboard Parris Island. “Let’s strive to follow in the footsteps of the great men we are honor­ing here today.”

Jones and Queen both recom­mended service members and civilians continue King’s and other Black History Month vi­sionaries’ work.