Soldiers, civilian employees and residents gathered at Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall's Community Center, Wednesday, to celebrate African-American History Month.

Sgt. 1st Class Colin Eaton, a tenor with the U.S. Army Chorus, started the presentation by singing the national anthem for guests.

Chap. (Lt. Col.) Barry White thanked God in his invocation and said, "We remember the struggles of black Americans throughout our history, and we thank [God] for leaders [he] continues to place in high and ordinary places."

February is African American History Month and a time to commemorate African Americans and their contributions throughout history.

Celebrating African American History began in 1926, when Dr. Carter G. Woodson, a Harvard Ph.D., initiated "Negro History Week." Woodson chose the second week in February because it included the birthdays of Frederick Douglass and Abraham Lincoln. In 1976, the United States turned a week-long observance into a month long celebration.

"Through grace and determination these African-American men and women have shaped our nation and influenced our American lives," said JBM-HH Commander Col. Carl R. Coffman Jr. "This year's theme 'The History of Black Economic Empowerment,' recognizes how African Americans have pushed against great odds to become land owners, skilled workers, small businessman, ministers, teachers, doctors and countless other noble professions including Soldiers and officers."

To outline and celebrate some of the major economic contributions Africans and African Americans have developed over time a guest performance by Pinpoint Theaters presented, "1001 Black Inventions," a play exhibiting some of the greatest inventions Africans and African Americans have created.

In the play actors from the theater played the roles of black men and women attempting to survive in a world without the great inventions created by some of their own. The audience laughed at the comic performance and took note of all of the great inventions in mechanics, astronomy, chemistry, mathematics and medicine that the world now really cannot live without.

At the end of the play, Coffman presented the cast with certificates of appreciation.

The African-American History Month Celebration at JBM-HH Community Center concluded with an ethnic food sampling for Soldiers, civilian employees, and residents of JBM-HH to enjoy.