VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. , –
Dr. Carter G. Woodson, who is known as the “Father of Black History Month,” noticed that the nation knew very little about the roles that African Americans had in America’s history. It was important to him that African Americans knew their past, so that they could participate intellectually in the affairs of our country.
In 1926, Woodson proposed and launched the annual “Black History Week.” It is said that he chose the month of February because February 12th is Abraham Lincoln’s birthday and February 14th is the accepted birthday of Frederick Douglas. President Gerald Ford officially recognized Black History Month as a federal observance at the nation’s bicentennial, in 1976.
Even though we have this month-long celebration, there is still much unknown about African American history. Part of our nation’s armed forces’ success is due to the African American lives that came before us. African Americans have served in the United States military dating back to before the Revolutionary War.
Some interesting historical facts include:
- In 1770 Crispus Attucks, a former slave, was the first casualty in the Boston Massacre.
- President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation, which allowed more than 180,000 African American soldiers to fight in between the years of 1862 to 1863.
- The Tuskegee Airmen were the first African American aviators in the United States Army Air Corps, now known as the United States Air Force. They flew more than 15,000 sorties more than two years and received 150 Distinguished Flying Crosses.
- 1942 was a major year for African Americans. The Navy accepted African Americans in all ratings and branches. The Marine Corps began accepting the enlistment of African Americans. Last but not least, the Women’s Army Corps accepted African Americans.
The Black History Month theme for 2021 is, “The Black Family: Representation, Identity, and Diversity.”
Not only this month but throughout the year, members should recognize and celebrate African American achievements throughout our nation’s history. Happy Black History Month.