African American/Black History Month observed
February 21, 2013
NATICK, Mass. -- African American/Black History Month was observed at Natick Soldier Systems Center during a Feb. 20 celebration that focused on significant milestones.
This year marks the 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation and the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington. Robert Baker, Directorate of Emergency Services director, U.S. Army Garrison Natick, spoke about these and other events in African American history during his presentation at Hunter Auditorium.
The Emancipation Proclamation, issued Jan. 1, 1863, by President Abraham Lincoln, declared that "all persons held as slaves in rebellious areas shall be then, thenceforward, and forever free." The March on Washington a century later proved to be a pivotal moment during the civil rights movement.
Anita Perkins of the Natick Soldier Research, Development and Engineering Center read President Barack Obama's proclamation for National African American History Month. Obama wrote, in part: "National African American History Month is a time to tell those stories of freedom won and honor the individuals who wrote them. We look back to the men and women who helped raise the pillars of democracy, even when the halls they built were not theirs to occupy. We trace generations of African Americans, free and slave, who risked everything to realize their God-given rights."
Paraphrasing the famous words uttered by George Santayana, USAG-Natick Deputy Commander Hugh Hardin noted that "those who don't learn from history are doomed to fail." Hardin urged those in attendance to overcome such barriers as race, education, religion and gender to help NSSC to "continue to grow stronger, and grow better, and grow faster."