Fort Rucker Black History Month events seek to build understanding
February 4, 2010
FORT RUCKER, Ala. -- Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. dreamed of all races dining "together at a table of brotherhood" in a famous 1963 speech. Black History Month events here allow post community members to do just that this February.
The celebration began early with a kickoff activity at the Post Exchange Friday. Soldiers and Department of the Army Civilians dished out ethnic food and registered people for upcoming Black History Month events during the kickoff. The post theme this year is "Make footsteps worth following."
Attendees said experiencing cultural variety is important in understanding others.
"It builds morale between people in the units," said Staff Sgt. Telisha White, C Company, 1st Battalion, 13th Aviation Regiment radar instructor. "If they come out (to our events), they will learn the different struggles different cultures go through. Everyone had to go through something to get to where they are now. Every culture contributes so much to the United States, and everyone needs to be recognized."
For those who missed last week's meal, there are still plenty of fun and educational activities, said Sgt. 1st Class Paula Bair, 1st Aviation Brigade equal opportunity adviser.
Area athletes can break a sweat at the African-American/Black History 5K and 1-mile fun run Saturday at 9 a.m. at the Fort Rucker Physical Fitness Facility, Bair said. Registration is $15 before Saturday and $20 on race day, beginning at 7:30 a.m.
A three-on-three double-elimination basketball tournament follows at noon the same day in the gym, said Staff Sgt. Anthony Crawford, B Company, 1st Battalion, 145th Aviation Regiment honors detachment noncommissioned officer-in-charge and battalion equal opportunity representative. Teams of up to six people compete to 15 points or lead after the first 15 minutes of a game. Players may register up to game day.
"It would be great if we could get one team per unit to enter the tournament," Crawford said. "It will show each unit has participated in the month in some way."
This year's free tournament is the first of its kind, and Crawford said he believes exercising is a fun way to celebrate Black heritage.
ID card holders can visit the Tuskegee Airmen National Historic Site in Tuskegee during a Feb. 12 tour that leaves the U.S. Army Aviation Museum at 7 a.m. The tour, including bus transportation, is free. Participants must register by Wednesday. Other stops include Tuskegee University and the George Washington Carver Museum. This honors not only a wealth of cultural and Black history, Bair said, but also holds significance for the Aviation community.
"These gentlemen made footsteps and set examples for us to follow," she said of the first Black Aviators.
In the latter half of the month, those seeking to satisfy their appetites can experience several cultural meals.
Both post dining facilities serve Soldiers ethnic lunches Feb. 18 from 11:15 a.m. to 1:15 p.m. Regular costs apply for active-duty personnel only.
Another ethnic luncheon, open to the entire post community, is held at The Landing Feb. 26 from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., Bair said. Tickets are $11 and may be purchased through unit equal opportunity contacts.
For more information on all events, call 255-1504. To play in the basketball tournament, call Crawford at 255-9937.