By Pfc. Zoe GarbarinoFebruary 6, 2018
FORT STEWART, Ga. - Soldiers and leaders throughout the 3rd Infantry Division gathered for a Black History Month Observance at Club Stewart in Fort Stewart, Georgia, Feb. 1.
The event was held to educate attendees about black history with a focus on those who served in the U.S. military.
"With the military being so diverse, our appreciation and understanding of the different heritages and nationalities in the military allows us to understand and respect differences a little bit better," said Sgt. 1st Class Elaine Dorsey, an equal opportunity advisor from 3rd Infantry Division Headquarters and Headquarters Battalion and a Kansas City, Missouri, native.
The event kicked off with the national anthem and a short history speech. The speech centered around prominent black figures who have fought for equal rights throughout the history of not only the United States Army, but the nation as a whole.
"I hope that those who attended will gain more knowledge on African-Americans in the military," said Warrant Officer Regina M. Crump, a human resource technician, 3rd Infantry Division Artillery, a Detroit, Michigan, native. "Of course we know Martin Luther King Jr., Frederick Douglass and Sojourner Truth, but to see that there are so many others builds knowledge, comradery and appreciation of what African-American culture has to offer, not only to the military but to the world."
Following the history speech, Crump stood proud and recited "Ain't That Bad" by Maya Angelou. �The phrase "ain't that bad" is used throughout the poem to show the audience that just because one is of a different nationality, they are no different in spirit.
"I wanted them to hear and feel the words I read and put themselves into the poem," Crump said. "I really wanted to read it for the African-Americans who feel like we are feeling underappreciated and not in the frontline. Know that you don't have to be anything other than who you are in order to be a productive part of society. Don't let your skin color dictate who you are or who you can be. It doesn't matter where you're from, it matters what you bring to the table."
Following Crump's speech, 3rd ID welcomed Kenneth Howard, the first black person to be appointed as the Hinesville, Georgia city manager to recognize and celebrate where African-Americans came from and where they stand now in today's society.
"I tried to focus on African-Americans in times of war," Howard said. "When they started serving the military, they weren't given the equal rights to serve in the war. I discussed how Buffalo Soldiers came to be to put items into perspective. The term was used for all black Soldiers who served during the Indian Wars. They had the lowest desertion rate in the Army despite their poor living conditions they returned to."
Howard said he wanted to remind the audience of the ones who paved the way for the African-Americans who stand in today's ranks and serve in today's wars. The United States is one of the most powerful nations in the world because of everything it's overcome.
Dorsey echoed Howard's sentiments.
"I enjoy helping out at these observances because it reminds me of how far the United States have come," said Dorsey. "I hope attendees will leave with more insight and be more aware of the contributions that were made."