Ellsworth commemorates African-American History Month

  • Published
  • By Airman Sadie Colbert
  • 28th Bomb Wing Public Affairs
This past February, Ellsworth celebrated Black History Month with several events to inform the base and local community on the importance of the observance.

National African-American History Month, also known as Black History Month, is an annual celebration of achievements by African-Americans and recognizes the important roles they had in the history of the United States.

Ellsworth's Diversity Council organizes all special observance events, and held many events to commemorate AAHM, such as a screening of "Selma," hosting an AAHM essay competition at Douglas Middle School and offering a taste of African-American cuisine during a luncheon at the Base Exchange.

"The biggest point is the emphasis on awareness of the contributions African Americans have made throughout history," said Tech. Sgt. Shawn Fyffe, 28th Medical Support Squadron medical material flight chief. "So many different African Americans have made a huge impact and have paved a way for people from the military to science, but a lot of people don't know these things because it's not the primary emphasis of study and common knowledge. By having these days to bring awareness to these significant milestones throughout the course of history, we want to take advantage of that."

Jessica Le, 28th Medical Operations Squadron public health flight commander, said there are historical milestones accomplished by black people, such as the creation of the lightbulb by Lewis Latimer, that she would have never known about if she didn't pursue higher education. Le also commented that some people may never learn about those things unless they had a desire to know for themselves.

The U.S. celebrates African American History Month now, but this was not always the case. It took many years for America to recognize the special observance on a National level.

The first celebration came from the 1926 event of "Negro History Week," when the Harvard-trained historian Carter G. Woodson and Minister Jesse E. Moorland founded the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History, and organized the celebration. The event was picked up nationally by many schools and communities.

The Civil Rights Movement helped push for more awareness and colleges turned their Black History week into Black History Month.

Finally, in 1976 President Gerald R. Ford recognized the month officially. Since then, every U.S. president has designated the month of February as Black History Month.

Some of the prominent achievements by African Americans were as part of in the Civil Rights Movement which led to black people being able to hold political office positions, enroll in Southern colleges, and led to a decline in anti-black violence.

Fyffe adds there were a lot of other races who helped black people establish equality, and that no one person has accomplished much by himself.

"The military is the perfect model showing what African Americans went through to pave a way for equality, and for us to be able to even wear the uniform we're wearing now," Fyffe said. "When I wear this uniform, I look at all Americans before me that died so I can wear this uniform, which includes African Americans. I wouldn't be able to have this chance if those men didn't come before me."

Editor's note: Information from http://www.history.com/topics/black-history/black-history-month was used in this story.