Black History Month at Fort Drum
Robin D. Moore, Po Valley Child Development Center director, speaks to audience members during the Fort Drum African-American History Month observance Feb. 23 on post.

FORT DRUM, N.Y. -- Fort Drum community members gathered Thursday at the Commons to celebrate the contributions of African Americans to the culture and fabric of America and the world.

This year's ceremony continued the tradition of excellence started by Dr. Carter G. Woodson, known as the "Father of Black History Month," by honoring black women in American history and culture.

After a few musical and vocal renditions by Soldiers of the 10th Mountain Division (LI) Band, the guest speaker, Robin D. Moore, was introduced.

"I am reminded of the words of Dr. Martin Luther King, 'One day we will all be together,''' said Moore, director of Child, Youth and School Services' Po Valley Child Development Center. "I am honored and humble to be your guest speaker."

After reading a poem titled "Phenomenal Women," by best-selling author and poet Dr. Maya Angelou, Moore added that the day's event was not just about African American women, but all women.

"This poem is an example of today's women in American culture," she said. "It speaks of our strengths, confidence and beauty as women."

"I was reminded of some powerful, phenomenal women who paved the way for all women," Moore said. "Even though they were faced with trials and tribulations, these women did not allow cultural divide or the fact that they were black women to forbid them from becoming who God created them to be."

Moore offered examples of these women, such as Sojourner Truth, born Isabella Baumfree, an itinerant preacher and abolitionist who spoke out for woman's rights and against slavery; Harriet Tubman; Mary McLeod Bethune, founder of the National Council of Negro Women; Rosa Parks, civil rights icon; Coretta Scott King; Oprah Winfrey; Dr. Mae C. Jemison, first black woman astronaut; Dr. Condoleezza Rice, first black woman to serve as the U.S. secretary of state; and Michelle Obama, first lady of the U.S.

Moore went on to encourage those participating in the luncheon to never be held back by their pasts.

"Don't allow yesterday's hurt, pain, failures or shattered dreams dictate to you who you are," Moore said. "Don't allow nothing or anybody to prevent you from becoming who God created you to be. You are a phenomenal woman, and you are in America's culture today."

Members of the audience cheered and applauded in agreement.

After Moore finished her remarks, Maj. Gen. Mark A. Milley, Fort Drum and 10th Mountain Division (LI) commander, said America has come a long way, but because racism, unfairness and injustice have been an integral part of the country, there's a long way yet to go.

"The struggle is not yet finished," Milley said. "We all have a solemn, moral, ethical and legal obligation to carry this struggle forward."

Milley then presented Moore with a token of appreciation on behalf of all the Soldiers in the division.

Spc. Robin Nicole Rodgers, a Soldier with 590th Quartermaster Company, 548th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion, said this is the first year she participated in the program, and she thought it was awesome.

"The speech was astounding," Rodgers said. "She did an amazing job, and I appreciate everything she said today."

Page last updated Thu March 1st, 2012 at 20:25