February focus: African-American citizenship
February 3, 2009
WASHINGTON (Army News Service, Feb. 3, 2009) -- The national theme of this year's African American History Month observance running through February is "Quest for Black Citizenship in the Americas."
In keeping with this theme, the Equal Employment Opportunity Web site for Department of the Army headquarters features a quiz "Paving the Way to the Presidency."
EEO Officer Beatrice Bernfeld said employees can test their knowledge of African Americans within the electoral system by taking the quiz at <a href="https://secureweb.hqda.pentagon.mil/eeo/main/Index.asp"target=_blank>https://secureweb.hqda.pentagon.mil/eeo/main/Index.asp</a>.
In addition to citizenship, the Department of Defense will emphasize quality education during the month-long observance, according to Jay D. Aronowitz, the acting deputy assistant secretary of the Army for EEO and Civil Rights.
In a memorandum to Army commands, Aronowitz said the DOD theme for African American History month supports Presidential Executive Order 13256, aimed at advancing equal opportunity in higher education. The special DOD theme for the month is "Reaching Out to Youth: A Strategy for Excellence."
A DOD outreach event is scheduled to take place Feb. 25-26 at Alabama Agriculture and Mechanical University in Normal, Ala. As part of the ceremonies, DOD will present African-American History Month Recognition Awards to selected service members.
The awards will be presented by the Department of Defense Office of Diversity Management and Equal Opportunity to service members who have supported the Global War on Terrorism between February 2006 and January of this year. Nominees must demonstrate role-model qualities and the core values of their service, according to Aronowitz. His memorandum states per diem and travel costs must be paid by the recipients' units. Award nominations must be submitted through each unit's chain of command and submitted to the Army's G-1 EO office.
A Feb. 5 ceremony at the Pentagon is scheduled to rededicate and relocate a Buffalo Soldier replica statue and a Frederick Remington Buffalo Soldier mural. The original exhibit was dedicated July 25, 1992 at Fort Leavenworth, Kan. A replica was dedicated at the Pentagon Aug. 14, 1992 by then-Chief of Staff of the Army Gen. Gordon Sullivan and Gen. Colin Powell, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
The relocation of the exhibit will move it to the Pentagon's E ring, near an entrance. The ceremony is scheduled to include remarks by Chief of Staff of the Army Gen. George Casey Jr., along with potential remarks by an NCO alumni, and words by retired Gen. Sullivan.
The EEO Directorate for Army headquarters is sponsoring a special Pentagon tour Feb. 19 focusing on African-American contributions to the Army, both by civilians and Soldiers. The morning tour will feature the "African Americans in the Defense of Our Nation" Corridor display located in the Pentagon's second floor A-Ring, near corridor 7.
In addition, Dr. Christopher Koontz, of the Center of Military History, will present "Fighting for Liberty: The Unsung Heroes of the 24th Infantry Regiment" in World War II on Feb. 24 at 11:30 a.m., in the Taylor Building's Stripes Conference Room in the Crystal City area of Arlington, Va.
Reservations for the tour and the lunch presentation can be made at http://eoaa.hqda.pentagon.mil/.
One of the features of the Library of Congress African American History Month Web site is the Veterans History Project which lays out the stories of African-American war veterans.
The roots of African American History Month stem back to Harvard-trained historian, Carter G. Woodson. He founded the "Association for the Study of Negro Life and History," which began a week-long observance honoring Black History in February 1926.
By the time of Woodson's death in 1950, the History Week had become a significant observance. Mayors of cities nationwide issued proclamations. The celebration was expanded to a month in 1976, the nation's bicentennial, with a proclamation by President Gerald R. Ford. Since then each American president has issued proclamations for the month-long observance.