Black history event keeps inspirational tradition
This year's theme for Black History Observance Month is Inspiring Change. (Photo Credit: Courtesy) VIEW ORIGINAL

The Security Assistance Command will hold this year’s Black History Month observance Feb. 22 at 10 a.m. in Bob Jones Auditorium. This year’s theme, “Inspiring Change,” epitomizes the contributions of African Americans to challenging racial inequities and promoting opportunities for equal advancement within the African American community.

The guest speaker is Dana Larkins, a professional development coach. Larkins is the owner and founder of Grady Smith Consulting, where he helps others understand the power of mindset to unlock their potential and move to new levels of success. He was recently ranked in the top 10 out of 1,515 Proctor Gallagher Consultants worldwide and has also been featured on Alabama Entrepreneur.

Throughout his corporate career as an aerospace engineer for over 15 years, Larkins rose through the ranks to become the youngest program manager at one of the largest aerospace firms in the world. During that time, he led a team of more than 150 people and managed a multimillion dollar enterprise. Larkins refers to Macon, Georgia, as his hometown after numerous childhood moves with his parents who both proudly served in the Army.

This event will also feature the Aeolian Choir from Oakwood University and a soul food tasting from SACs Kitchen.

The observance of Black History Month was first proposed in the late 1960s and officially recognized in 1978. The Department of Defense is continuing this 45-year-old tradition to pay tribute to the men and women who have made significant contributions to every field of human endeavor. We honor those who in the past and present Inspire Change.

The 2023 Department of Defense Black History Month poster depicts the four young men who organized the first prominent, nonviolent sit-in of the civil rights movement. This took place at a Woolworth lunch counter in Greensboro, North Carolina, and began Feb. 1, 1960.

The protesters were students at North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University in Greensboro. This passive resistance and peaceful sit-down protest helped ignite a youth-led movement to challenge racial inequality throughout the South.

One of the “Greensboro Four,” as they were called, was Joseph McNeil. He went on to become a major general in the Air Force. After a military career of over 37 years, and over 6,600 flight hours, McNeil received many awards and decorations, including the Air Force Distinguished Service Medal upon retirement.