By U.S. ArmyFebruary 10, 2014
(The following letters were received in response to the commentary, "Is it really Black History Month," in the Feb. 6. ACC NewsBlast. Letters to the editor are encouraged and the decision to publish belong to the editorial staff. The original commentary can be found at http://www.army.mil/article/119415/Commentary___Is_it_really_Black_History_Month_/)
I greatly appreciated your column in the NewsBlast about Black History Month. I've been put off by the various special history months because I don't have one. Like you, I learned an integrated history that honored George Washington Carver, Booker T. Washington, Frederick Douglass, and others right along with everyone else. Your article helped me see past some of my defensiveness about the special history months.
I grew up reading about the struggles of founding fathers over the moral blight of slavery, and even old stories from my family's past of our struggle to come to grips with our participation in slavery. Even though the English did abolish slavery first in 1807, that was 30 years after we
pointed out the blight of slavery in the Declaration of Independence and 20 years after we struggled with it in writing the Constitution. My family on both sides goes back before the American Revolution, Mostly southern families, and yes even slave owners. While our family has born the shame of slavery for years, the complexity of the problem is easily lost to the modern mind. (after the Civil War, my family lost everything and ended up moving west to start over in a sod hut).
It was the contribution of Scottish and English Americans to the Revolutionary Period that codified enough belief in unalienable rights to actually make abolition possible. It was the product of years of thought (Lex Rex by Samuel Rutherford) and revolutions on the Isles that lead to the Commonwealth Republic, and various freedoms granted by kings both before and after. Those experiences were exported to the Americas and modified to create the system we have today that can honor differences rather than the bloodshed of sectarian violence that had characterized earlier British existence. These Americans lead the world in recognizing the evil which many other societies took longer to abolish, and sadly is still openly practiced in many places today.
The emphasis on separateness divides rather than unites, thanks for giving me back American History.
Thomas G. Rutherford, Contract Specialist
Direct Fire Munitions Branch
ACC - Rock Island Ill.
Good Afternoon Larry,
I wanted to share that I really like your commentary - "Is it really Black History Month?" I believe that "history" months are great for highlighting often overlooked or understated achievements but felt that in some cases those were the only times that a person might hear or learn a particular type of history. I believe that American history should include all American history and should not be segregated by race, ethnicity, gender, etc.
This is the first time I recall reading or hearing the salad analogy and I think it is a great way to put it. I've always felt that hyphenating Americans, i.e. African-American, Mexican-American, Japanese-American, was a little offensive and wondered why we all just can't be Americans. The salad analogy that you shared helps me to understand that when used in the right context that it isn't offensive but allows for uniqueness.
Thanks again and have a great day!
Kurt L Kleinlein, Contract Specialist-Pyrotechnics
Ammunition Contracting Division, ACC-Rock Island, Ill.