DETROIT ARSENAL, Mich. – Tank-automotive and Armaments Command hosted Michigan native Maj. Gen. (Ret) Adolph McQueen Jr. as guest speaker for this year’s virtual African American History Month commemoration Feb. 24.
This year’s theme, “The Black Family, Representation, Identity, and Diversity,” celebrates the premise that the black family will “foster our liberation, enhance our self-esteem, and shape our ideas and goals.”
Brig. Gen. Darren Werner, Commanding General TACOM, offered opening remarks speaking on the important contributions to American history of one of the most well-known civil rights leaders, Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
“It’s important that we celebrate our unique American heritage, and a large part of that heritage involves the immense contributions to our country made by Black Americans,” said Werner, “We build our collective heritage every day, with our past and present.”
McQueen started off by talking about the topic of families, which he stated that family was very important, whether it was your immediate family or your extended family.
“My extended family was made up of the various military units that I joined and then became a part of,” McQueen said, “As a commander, it was my job to build a team and then build it into a family within the organization.”
Speaking specifically about the Black family, McQueen stated one of the most important aspects for adhering to this year’s African American History Month theme is knowledge, which is part of the American fabric.
“Our identity and diversity is our contribution to the world through medicine and science, education, media, business, sports, political leadership,” said McQueen.
In the question-and-answer session at the end of his discussion, McQueen told young leaders to read books about history, especially from other successful leaders.
“I would read books [from leaders], listen to their stories,” McQueen said, “By listening to their stories, it will have an impact on what you do.”
He also advised younger Army leaders to talk to older Soldiers and mentors and learn from their experiences.
McQueen last served in the Army as the Deputy Commanding General of U.S. Army North at Fort Sam Houston, Texas. He retired from the Army in 2013. McQueen also served in civilian law enforcement in a variety of capacities in Michigan.
Carter G. Woodson, a Harvard-trained historian, was one of the driving forces behind the importance of highlighting African American’s contributions to the overall American history landscape. He helped establish “Negro History Week” in 1925, during the week that commemorated the births of Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass.