CONTINGENCY OPERATING STATION KALSU, IRAQ
CONTINGENCY OPERATING STATION KALSU, Iraq — Soldiers gathered at Contingency Operating Station Kalsu Feb. 25, 2010, to celebrate Black History Month in an event featuring music, dance, poetry, song and cake.
"I encourage each of you to recognize the many accomplishments of African-American citizens and to discover more about their rich culture and triumphant history," said Sgt. 1st Class Jamal Reid, equal opportunity advisor, 3rd Heavy Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division.
Black History Month is not only a celebration of African-American heritage, but a celebration of national heritage, said Reid.
The common theme of intertwined history was also touched on by guest speaker Lt. Col. Charles Dalcourt, Jr., commander of the 1st Attack Reconnaissance Battalion, 227th Aviation Regiment, 1st Cavalry Div., out of Fort Hood, Texas.
"We are all Americans," he said, "diverse, dedicated, different and dominant as a country because we are so. The fabric of our country is woven with the thread of many colors, yet sealed in blood that appears red no matter what body bled."
He acknowledged famous activists and authors such as Frederick Douglass, Cathay Williams, W.E.B. Dubois and Booker T. Washington and said that there were also several unknown "non-colored, Caucasians" who were "instrumental in spearheading progress."
He named William E. Walling, Charles Edward Russell and Mary White Ovington.
Dalcourt also spoke about the theme of Black History Month this year, "The History of Black Economic Empowerment."
"Economic prosperity came from the backbone of education," he said. "Remember that education enlightens, empowers and improves all it touches. It's unfortunate that we dishonor the price paid by foregone generations by freely spending $30 for a carton of cigarettes, but balk at buying a book."
Afterward, Soldiers ate cake decorated with the images of Rosa Parks and President Barack Obama.
"It's a great time to reflect on where you are and the shoulders you stand on," said 1st Lt. Jason Tolbert, Iraqi Security Force project manager with the 1411th Civil Affairs Company, "It helps me further American and Black history."
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This work, Black History Month celebrated at COS Kalsu, by SGT Samuel Soza, identified by DVIDS, is free of known copyright restrictions under U.S. copyright law.