Milano
Maj. Gen. James Milano

FORT JACKSON, S.C. -- Each February, Fort Jackson takes pride in its celebration of Black History Month, providing Soldiers, Family members and civilians the opportunity to learn about the many achievements and sacrifices African-Americans have made during the course of our history. The theme of this year's celebration is "Black Women in American Culture and History."


From the Revolutionary War to present day, African-American women have made major contributions in the building of our nation. Their labor, leadership, motherhood and patriotism, as well as their intellect and artistic expression, have enriched our nation. In fact, their struggles have been at the heart of the human experience.

Black women had been subjected to a long history of stereotypes, yet they have continuously demonstrated a warrior spirit in never succumbing to victimhood. Perhaps this helped influence the Association for the Study of African American Life and History to select this theme for 2012, so that all of us could explore African American women's roles in the making of America. The association points to countless examples of the many black women in history who have stood tall in the face of adversity.

These include: Phillis Wheatley, an American patriot during the Revolutionary War; Harriet Tubman, the leader of the Underground Railroad from slavery; Ida B. Wells, an unyielding opponent of lynching; and Rosa Parks, the mother of the modern civil rights movement. All of these women have made history fighting oppression and their stories are worth noting and revisiting.

To comprehend the history of African-American women is to expand our understanding of our nation's people and our country itself. Incidentally, the history of Black History Month itself is something that is always worth noting:

 In 1926, Carter G. Woodson, the founder of the Association for the Study of African American Life and History, initiated "Negro History Week."

 The month of February was chosen because of the birthdays of both Frederick Douglass, a former slave, renowned orator, journalist and advocate; and America's 16th president, Abraham Lincoln, who issued the Emancipation Proclamation in 1863, that declared "foreverfree" slaves within the American Confederacy.

 Former President Gerald R. Ford announced the first official Black History Month, expanding the celebration from one week to include the entire month.

Fort Jackson is proud to take part each year in the Black History Month celebration. Later this month, the 165th Infantry Brigade will host the annual Black History Month luncheon, which promises to be a superb event.

The guest speaker will be Dr. Constella Hines-Zimmerman, who currently serves as an adviser and adjunct professor at Webster University.

The annual luncheon is planned for Feb. 24 from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Solomon Center. To purchase tickets, see the Installation Equal Employment Office, a brigade equal opportunity adviser or unit equal opportunity leader. I look forward to seeing you there.

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Page last updated Wed February 1st, 2012 at 00:00