News: CTF-72 sailors celebrate African-American History Month
MISAWA AIR BASE, Japan - The Commander, Task Force 72 (CTF-72) Cultural Heritage Committee hosted an African-American/Black History Month Celebration, Feb. 13, 2014.
The event highlighted famous African-Americans and their contributions in the fields of civil rights, music, sports, medicine, and military, but also touched on some lesser publicized areas.
"When I say 'Civil Rights in America', I'm going to assume that your first thought is of Martin Luther King, Jr. and the 1963 march on Washington," said Lt. Cmdr. Jason Butler, CTF-72 maintenance officer, who originally hails from St. Louis, Mo. "The fact is that Civil Rights in America spans hundreds of years dating back to 1619, and though shaped by the aforementioned events, I want to focus on another catalyst, another powerful player that has been both captor and savior to the cause of Civil Right: The United States Supreme Court."
Butler’s speech cited the famous legal case, Dred Scott versus Sandford, in which Scott, a slave, sued for his freedom claiming that his residence in free territory made him a free man. Scott lost the case, but then brought a new suit in federal court. It’s thought this case ultimately led toward the push to expand slavery, thus inadvertently spurring the American Civil War.
"Something that stood out to me during the ceremony was the recounting of history,” said Information Systems Technician 2nd Class Sherin Adamos, originally from Lathrop, Calif. "It's important that we are made more aware of where we used to be and how far we have come since then."
The program also touched on the African-American History note from Vice Adm. William Moran, deputy chief of naval operations, which recognizes the 87 African-American sailors who have been awarded for their action during the Civil War. Because of the historical contributions that were made, the U.S. Navy today has become more diverse and unique.
"I believe in diversity and am multicultural. I can literally claim each heritage month or week that the Navy celebrates," said Adamos. "Meeting different people in all their unique backgrounds is how it has been for me and I would definitely be saddened if that changed."
African-American History Month was originally established in 1926 as "Negro History Week", by Dr. Carter G. Woodson. Woodson was also the founder of the Association for the Study of African-Americans Life and History.
"Working with African American shipmates throughout my career has always had an impact on my life, both personally and professionally," said Operations Specialist 1st Class Eric Tan, a native to Las Vegas. "At CTF-72 here, we always strive to support the Chief of Naval Operation's initiatives on a culturally diversified naval force."
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