By Maj. Gen. Donna Martin and Command Sgt. Maj. James Breckinridge
Special to GUIDON
Each February, we recognize Black History Month by honoring the monumental contributions of African Americans who have shaped the growth and culture our great nation.
Black History Month was pioneered in 1926 by Dr. Carter Woodson’s extraordinary efforts, and it was eventually declared a national month of observance by President Gerald Ford in 1976.
During the month of February, communities across America continue to promote, preserve and commemorate the tremendous influence of African American men and women in our country.
This year’s theme, “Black Migrations,” calls our attention to the movement of people of African descent to new destinations and new social realities.
African American migration patterns throughout the 20th century to current time have included relocation from southern farms to southern cities; from the South to the Northeast, Midwest and West; and from the Caribbean to U.S. cities.
These movements have resulted in a more diverse and stratified interracial and intra-racial urban population amid a challenging social environment. These movements also introduced a variety of urban churches and new religions; new music forms like ragtime, blues and jazz; and the blossoming of visual and literary arts as seen in the Harlem Renaissance.
In short, these movements have resulted in greater diversity in populations and richness in culture throughout the United States.
Our armed forces have benefited in the same way, and we remain the greatest fighting force in the world due to the diversity of our people. This month on Fort Leonard Wood, we take time to thank our African American Soldiers, Sailors, Marines, Airmen, civilians and families for their selfless service. We are proud to serve with you.
Victory starts here…victory through skill.
(Editor’s note: Martin is the Maneuver Support Center of Excellence and Fort Leonard Wood commanding general. Breckinridge is the MSCoE and Fort Leonard Wood command sergeant major.)