Each February we reflect and celebrate the tremendous contributions of African Americans to our great Nation and military.
African Americans have defended our nation since the Revolutionary War and built a legacy of courage and professionalism by serving the U.S. Army with great honor and distinction, inspiring generations to come.
Today more than 190,000 African Americans serve in the Army’s Total Force. The U.S. Army is dedicated to leveraging the strength of our diverse force and ensuring equality for each individual member.
Black History Month serves as a tribute to African American men and women who have made significant contributions to our great Nation through military service, civil rights movements, sports, science, law, entertainment, engineering and many other fields.
The theme for this year’s observance is “Black Migrations.” The theme emphasizes the history of the major African American migration that spans from the early 1900’s to the 1970’s. During that time more than six million African Americans moved from southern states to northern areas with better paying industrial jobs as well as better social and political opportunities.
This major relocation has come to be known as the “Great Migration.” The movement resulted in huge demographic shifts across the United States. African Americans began to build a new place for themselves in public life. Many found doors opening that had been previously denied resulting in an explosion of opportunities in the arts, sports, science, technology, and politics.
This year’s commemoration also gives us the chance to reflect on the contributions of African-American Soldiers. Embracing and celebrating diversity makes our Army stronger, and we are dedicated to ensuring equality for all of our Soldiers, civilians and family members.
The Army simply could not accomplish its missions without the skill and dedication of all of its members. We find our true strength in our ability to bring together people of different races, cultures and faiths who share common values like duty, honor, selfless service, loyalty and respect.
I encourage each of you to take some time this month to learn more about African American military history and the Great Migration that helped shape our country. Attached is a slideshow from the Defense Equal Opportunity Management Institute that highlights influential African Americans from the Great Migration. Below are a few free resources from the U.S. Army and Department of Defense.
Mission – People – Team work PACESETTERS
Kevin S. Brown, P.E.
Southwestern Division, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers