Black History Month luncheon takes place Feb. 19

The 86th Airlift Wing will sponsor a Black History Month Luncheon 11 a.m. Feb. 19 at the Ramstein Officers’ Club.  Guest speaker will be Chief Master Sgt. Jack Johnson Jr., Command Senior Enlisted Leader, U.S. Africa Command. Tickets are $12 for club members and $15 for non-club members. For more information contact MSgt Tracey Brumfield at 479-4239 or 06371-46-4239.

The story of Black History Month begins in 1915, half a century after the Thirteenth Amendment abolished slavery in the U.S. That September, the Harvard-trained historian Carter G. Woodson and the prominent minister Jesse E. Moorland founded the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History, an organization dedicated to researching and promoting achievements by black Americans and other peoples of African descent.

Known today as the Association for the Study of African American Life and History, the group sponsored a national Negro History week in 1926, choosing the second week of February to coincide with the birthdays of Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass.

The event inspired schools and communities nationwide to organize local celebrations, establish history clubs and host performances and lectures.

In the decades that followed, mayors of cities across the country began issuing yearly proclamations recognizing Negro History Week. By the late 1960s, thanks in part to the Civil Rights Movement, Negro History Week had evolved into Black History Month on many college campuses.

President Gerald R. Ford officially recognized Black History Month in 1976, calling upon the public to “seize the opportunity to honor the too-often neglected accomplishments of black Americans in every area of endeavor throughout our history.”  Since then, every American president has designated February as Black History Month and endorsed a specific theme. The 2013 theme, “At the Crossroad of Freedom and Equality: The Emancipation Proclamation and The March on Washington,” pays tribute to the anniversary of two important African American turning points — the 1863 Emancipation Proclamation and the 1963 March on Washington.