By Andrew Critchelow, Fort Knox News Contributing WriterFebruary 23, 2018
When Maj. Gen. Jason Evans, commanding general of U.S. Army Human Resources Command, introduced the guest speaker at the 2018 African American History Month Observance Program on Fort Knox Tuesday, he quoted the late Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
"Everybody can be great because everybody can serve," Evans said.
As the guest speaker at the Fort Knox Black History Month observance held in Sadowski Center, Mildred Bailey embraced this message as she spoke to those who attended the event.
Bailey, who serves as a coordinator in the Office of Diversity at the University of Kentucky, emphasized the individual's role in creating a more accepting nation and the importance of accepting others and learning from their cultures.
"We all have hard feelings against somebody of another race, creed, color or culture, but don't put judgment on everybody and don't let it unnecessarily make you punish other people for what they have no control over," she said.
While the address highlighted unity, it also became an opportunity for education.
Following with this year's theme: "African Americans in Times of War," Bailey discussed the role of African American Soldiers in many major conflicts throughout U.S. history and the struggles with discrimination they had to endure in order to serve.
"They were forced to fight for the right to fight for a country that is just as much their own," she said. "The reason was because they too, we too, are America."
Hosted by Fort Knox and HRC, information was made available through displays on everything from the Civil War and the Buffalo Soldiers who followed to modern African American Medal of Honor recipients. Other displays highlighted historical African American Soldiers ranging from Cathay Williams, the first African American woman to enlist in the U.S. Army, to Simone Askew, the first African American woman to become first captain of the U.S. Military Academy Corps of Cadets.
Adding to the event's variety, entertainment was provided by Jordan Hightower along with free refreshments.
Bailey said it's important to give recognition to the history of African Americans -- their achievements, struggles and traditions -- so history is remembered in a full spectrum and through a diverse lens.
"History didn't happen between segments of different races, creeds and colors; everything was happening to everybody at the same time," she said. "If we can get everybody to have that same thing happening at the same time together, that's when we reach peace."