News: February: a time to remember, a time to reflect
Story by Lance Cpl. Brian Stevens
IWAKUNI, Japan - For Americans, February is known as Black History Month. It is a time set aside to remember the struggles, past and present, faced by African Americans in achieving equality.
Europeans shipped approximately 12 million slaves from Africa to the Western Hemisphere, according to Time Magazine.
Black History Month is a time to celebrate the achievements that have brought America closer to a land of perfect equality.
“I think the significance of it is to reflect on the contributions African Americans have given to society, but in my mind it's also to reflect not only on blacks, but all individuals who have made America a great country to live in,” said Dr. André Boyer, University of Phoenix full-time faculty member.
One example of the struggles faced by African Americans was the Supreme Court’s ruling on racial segregation famously known as Brown v. Board of Eduction.
The case began in 1950 when a school four blocks away from her home denied Linda Brown, a 7-year-old from Topeka, Kansas, because of her skin color. Linda's father took the dispute to court. On May 17, 1954, the United States Supreme Court ruled racial segregation in public schools violated the Constitution.
Although, the struggle for equality lasted for more than 300 years, February was not federally recognized as Black History Month until 1976.
The remembrance started in 1926 when founder of The Association for the Study of African American Life and History, Carter G. Woodson, announced the second week of February would acknowledge black history. In 1976, the federal government recognized the move by the Black United Students in 1969 to delegate February as Black History Month. The first Black History Month took place in 1970 at Kent State University.
The meaning expanded for some people after 42 years of February recognizing the struggle for equality.
“What black history month represents to me is the struggle, not just of blacks or even minorities, but of America,”said Gunnery Sgt. Alvin Cruz, Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni, equal opportunity advisor.
Cruz said that some people may refer to slavery as America's black eye, but the country took action to end it.
The air station has a luncheon planned in honor of Black History Month at the Landing Zone Dining Room Feb. 21, 2013. The grand buffet is scheduled to host a special guest speaker and a musical performance.