SHAW AIR FORCE BASE, S.C. – “Today we recognize a piece of ARCENT history and celebrate the culture and contributions of African-American women,” said Sgt. 1st Class Typana Edwards, a Troy, Ala., native and Third Army/ARCENT equal opportunity adviser, during Third Army/ARCENT’s Black History Month observance at Patton Hall on Shaw Air Force Base, S.C., Feb. 29.
Since 1976 Black History Month has commemorated the history of the distribution of African-American people, language and culture as well as to celebrate their contributions to the United States. Third Army/ARCENT’s observance provided Shaw AFB’s soldiers and airmen an opportunity to celebrate the achievements of African-American’s through poetry, song and historical presentations.
“The history of the struggles of African-American women can go as far back as Harriet Tubman and as current as our First Lady, Michelle Obama,” said Shreveport, La., native 1st Sgt. Jacqueline E. Peachers, acting commandant of Fort Jackson’s Non-commissioned Officer Academy and guest speaker at the observance.
During her speech, Peachers described six women who came from humble beginnings and worked hard, leaving their mark on American history. She encouraged those in attendance to follow in the footsteps of these women.
“They have provided to us an example of what to do to achieve our goals,” Peachers said. “Each of you should leave here today asking yourself, ‘What will be my legacy?’, ‘What will I do that will make a difference?’ and tell yourself, ‘Failure is not an option.’”
This year’s theme for Black History Month, “Black Women in American Culture and History” was prevalent throughout the observance in both the historical and artistic presentations.
“We had heard some stories but there was additional information I had not heard,” said Sophia Murrell, Third Army/ARCENT human resources assistant and West Palm Beach, Fla., native, as she reflected on the presentation of the history of the Tuskegee airmen. “The poem was very nice; it was uplifting and made me proud of me.”
“I liked the format and everyone was very knowledgeable with the information they shared,” said Sgt. 1st Class Sandra Chatmon, a resident of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., and Third Army/ARCENT logistics administration NCO.
The event ended with the singing of the Black National Anthem and the retiring of the Colors.