<b>FORT STEWART, Ga. </b>- A large presence of Marne Division Soldiers and several civilians gathered at Fort Stewart's Main Post Chapel, wrapping up the month of February with a sequence of events celebrating African American history. The celebration included poetry, dance, song and food, in honor of Black History Month.

Black History Month was established by United States historian Dr. Carter G. Woodson in 1926. Originally, Negro History Week was commemorated on the second week of February, but it soon evolved into a month-long observance. Black History is now celebrated in Canada and the United Kingdom during the month of October.

Fort Stewart-Hunter Army Airfield embraced this year's Department of Defense Black History Month theme, "The History of Black Economic Empowerment," and began its annual program with theatrical poetry readings by Sgt. 1st Class Lavina Payne, 4th IBCT property book office noncommissioned officer in charge, and Staff Sgt. Arthur Woods Jr., 4th IBCT chaplain assistant NCOIC.

"Black History Month is a great way to celebrate history and our legacy as a people," said Sgt. 1st Class Payne.

Specialist Rodney E. Simpson Jr., administrative assistant assigned to Headquarters Company, 4th IBCT, who performed a singing duet alongside Sgt. Kristina Doolittle, 4-3 Brigade Special Troops Battalion, said, "This is not just black history; its American history."

The guest speaker for the observance was Georgia State Representative Bob Bryant, who spoke of his service in the Army and now as a state representative.

"The sky is the limit," he said before reciting Dr. Martin Luther King, Junior's, "I Have a Dream" speech.

Brigadier General Jeffrey Phillips, 3rd Infantry Division, deputy commanding general-rear, and Command Sgt. Maj. Jeffrey Ashmen, 3rd ID command sergeant major-rear, then awarded the guest speaker for his willingness to share his thoughts on economic empowerment in the black community.

The observance was followed with a soul food luncheon of fried catfish, ham hocks, black eyed peas, rice and pigs feet, all served in a colorful activity room of the Main Post Chapel, decorated with posters and dozens of art displays illustrated by Kessler Elementary School students.

Page last updated Fri July 22nd, 2011 at 12:16