By Spc. Corine Margetiak
CAMP TAJI, Iraq — In 1926, the second week of February was called "Negro History Week" as founded by United States historian Carter G. Woodson, and now the month of February is known in the United States as Black History Month.
The 1483rd Transportation Company, 541st Combat Sustainment Support Battalion, 15th Sustainment Brigade, 13th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary), began celebrating Black History Month with a mural painted on a wall outside the 1483d Trans. Company's Morale, Welfare and Recreation building.
The masterminds behind the mural were 1st Lt. Kelly McGoldrick, one of the equal opportunity representatives and an Ohio native, and Spc. Nicole Day, the manager of the 1483d Trans. Company MWR and a Carrollton, Ohio, native.
"We wanted to do this," Day said. "I didn't want the wall to be just pretty; I wanted it to be informative."
Day said it took her about a month to sketch and paint what she wanted the mural to look like. The final picture consisted of a mouth and microphone, a guitar, a saxophone, a trumpet, and a wavy keyboard, with music notes containing names of many famous musicians.
The singers included Aretha Franklin, Bob Marley, and Gladys Knight; the guitarists were Jimi Hendrix, B.B. King, Bo Diddley, and Chuck Berry; Charlie "Bird" Parker, John Coltrane, and Pharoah Sanders for the saxophone; trumpeters Louis Armstrong, Dizzy Gillespie, and Quincy Jones; and finally, the pianists included Ray Charles, Stevie Wonder, Little Richard, Art Tatum, and Fats Domino.
Art Tatum is a native of Toledo, Ohio, the city just north of the Village of Walbridge, the home of the 1483rd Trans. Company's armory.
"I wanted to put a hometown hero," Day said.
On Feb. 5, Soldiers from the 541st CSSB gathered outside the 1483d Trans. Company MWR to celebrate Black History Month.
"We kicked off the evening with the national anthem by Jimi Hendrix," said Day. "It was followed by other artists, including all who were listed on the wall."
Dry-erase boards with quotes from different music artists were placed around the picnic tables next to the mural and on each picnic table were sheets with short biographies of different artists printed off from the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame website. Food and beverages were also provided.
Sgt. Kimberly Hill, the 1483d Trans. Company retention non-commissioned officer from Newark, Ohio, attended the Feb. 5th event.
"I think specialist Day did an amazing job on the mural with the very limited resources," Hill said. "The theme she picked to celebrate Black History Month was perfect because music is an experience everyone can share and appreciate, regardless of their background."