FORT JACKSON, S.C. -- From the battle of Lexington to the battle for Fallujah, countless African-Americans have sacrificed their lives to preserve the freedom of America.

No other conflict, however, may have been more personal than the Civil War. Tens of thousands of African-Americans enlisted in the Army and Navy, making extraordinary sacrifices to help unite a fractured country and free millions from slavery.

"What African-Americans did in the Civil War helped not only blacks but others in this country," said Sgt. 1st Class Chetoria Jackson, 165th Infantry Brigade Equal Opportunity adviser. "All of us can go further and dream bigger because of what they did."

Fort Jackson will celebrate the contributions of African-Americans during the Civil War this month as part of African-American History Month.

This year's luncheon, which is slated for 11:15 a.m., Tuesday, at the Solomon Center, will feature a performance by the Airport High School JROTC. There will also be a showing of clips from the PBS documentary "For Love of Liberty: The Story of America's Black Patriots." The menu includes fried catfish, pepper steak and gravy, white rice, collard greens, black-eyed peas, cornbread and assorted desserts. Tickets are $10 and may be purchased from brigade EO advisers or at the door on a first-come basis. There are 450 tickets available for the luncheon.

The Black History Month 5K Fun Run/Walk, which was postponed due to inclement weather, is scheduled for 9:30 a.m., Saturday, at Darby Field. Registration forms are still being accepted by the 165th Inf. Bde. Final registration will be accepted the day of the event from 8:30 to 9 a.m.

The month will conclude with a Civil War living memorial encampment, 10 a.m., Feb. 26, at Darby Field. The living memorial will be conducted by the 54th Massachusetts Civil War Re-enactment Regiment. The 54th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry Regiment was one of the first official black units during the Civil War.

Immediately following the living memorial will be a showing of the movie "Glory" at the Post theater. Members of the Triple Nickles, veterans of the first black paratroop unit, will attend the Feb. 26 events.

"This year's theme invites us to reflect on 150 years since the start of the Civil War and on the patriots of a young country who fought for the promises of justice and equality," said Sgt. 1st Class Janeen Simmons, Equal Opportunity Staff Office. "Let us pay tribute to those who have served and continue to serve in our military."

African-American History Month, which is celebrated during the month of February, dates back to 1926 when Carter G. Goodson created Negro History Week. It was celebrated on the third week in February to commemorate the births of former slave turned statesman Frederick Douglass and President Abraham Lincoln. The weeklong celebration was made into a month in 1976.

"I have really enjoyed learning about the origins of Black History Month. I had a lot of questions going into it, such as 'Why is it in February''" Jackson said. "This has given me the opportunity to research history that I otherwise wouldn't have."

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