Fort Eisenhower celebrates Black History Month

By Laura LeveringFebruary 28, 2024

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1 / 8 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Sgt. 1st Class Aukia Dickerson, 15th Signal Brigade Equal Opportunity advisor, is interviewed by a local TV news station following the Black History Month command program. (Photo Credit: Laura Levering, U.S. Army Signal School) VIEW ORIGINAL
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2 / 8 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Abatsu African Dance and Drummers, a local company featuring West African music and dance, provide live entertainment during Fort Eisenhower's Black History Month command program. (Photo Credit: Laura Levering, U.S. Army Signal School) VIEW ORIGINAL
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3 / 8 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Abatsu African Dance and Drummers, a local company featuring West African music and dance, provide live entertainment during Fort Eisenhower's Black History Month command program. (Photo Credit: Laura Levering, U.S. Army Signal School) VIEW ORIGINAL
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4 / 8 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Abatsu African Dance and Drummers, a local company featuring West African music and dance, provide live entertainment during Fort Eisenhower's Black History Month command program. (Photo Credit: Laura Levering, U.S. Army Signal School) VIEW ORIGINAL
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5 / 8 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Lt. Col. Demetrius Howard, deputy commander of 15th Signal Brigade, speaks during Fort Eisenhower’s Black History Month command program. (Photo Credit: Laura Levering, U.S. Army Signal School) VIEW ORIGINAL
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6 / 8 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Sgt. 1st Class Tametra Thomas, 401st Cyber Battalion, recites Maya Angelou’s “And Still I Rise,” poem as Sgt. 1st Class Aukia Dickerson, 15th Signal Brigade Equal Opportunity advisor, listens. (Photo Credit: Laura Levering, U.S. Army Signal School) VIEW ORIGINAL
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7 / 8 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Pfc. Maria Bracken, Delta Company, 369th Signal Battalion, sings the National Anthem (Photo Credit: Laura Levering, U.S. Army Signal School) VIEW ORIGINAL
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8 / 8 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Guests are treated to an array of authentic West African cuisine including this rice. (Photo Credit: Laura Levering, U.S. Army Signal School) VIEW ORIGINAL

FORT EISENHOWER, Ga. – The U.S. Army Cyber Center of Excellence and Fort Eisenhower honored Black History Month with a command program Feb. 23 in Darling Hall. The program was hosted by 15th Signal Brigade with featured entertainment by Abatsu African Dance and Drummers.

The theme for this year’s observance, “African Americans and the Arts,” exposed the community to African American culture through song, dance, poetry, and cuisine.

First Lt. Patrick Scott, Equal Opportunity leader, 401st Cyber Battalion, welcomed guests to the event while noting the vital role African Americans have had – and continue to have - in America.

“Over 10 percent of the people in America identify themselves as African American, and the contributions of African Americans have far outstripped their numbers,” Scott said.

The origins of Black History Month dates back to 1925, when prominent American historian and author Carter G. Woodson conceived and announced Negro History Week. The event was first celebrated in February 1926, and by the time of Woodson’s death 24 years later, it had become a focal point in African American culture. In 1976, the week evolved into Black History Month.

“With all this being said, Black History Month is a reminder that the significant contributions of African Americans throughout history, and the inclusive heritage it brings, belongs in the forefront of our consciousness 365 days a year; not just 28,” Scott said.

Lt. Col. Demetrius Howard, deputy commander of 15th Signal Brigade and guest speaker, directed the audience's attention to a video created by the Defense Equal Opportunity Military Institute. The two-and-a-half minute presentation briefly highlighted the contributions of James Reese Europe, Leonora Hull Brown, and Horace Pippin.

“Keep in mind, these are only a few of the many that have impacted the hearts and minds of so many while overcoming tremendous adversity,” Howard said.

“Under this theme ‘African Americans and the Arts,’ we celebrate diversity and inclusion in hopes to see that our differences lace our strengths as Americans,” he continued.

Closing out the program, Abatsu African dancers and drummers performed, and everyone was invited to partake in a sampling buffet of African cuisine.

Sgt. 1st Class Aukia Dickerson, 15th Signal Brigade Equal Opportunity advisor and driving force behind the program, said observances such as these are about unity.

“To have everybody come out, to be together … it shows diversity when it comes to the United States military,” Dickerson said. “It’s just amazing.”

For more information about Black History Month, visit the Library of Congress site here.