Events celebrate African American History Month

Petra Lessoing
Kaiserslautern American

February is African American History Month. The Ramstein African American Heritage committee sponsors several events to observe the occasion under the theme “Celebrating a Legacy of Freedom, Dignity and Determination.”

“This year, we are celebrating the 100th anniversary of the Niagara Movement, a political and social organization that met in 1905 near the Niagara Falls to bring awareness to the treatment of African Americans,” said Capt. Tanya Anderson, Ramstein African American Heritage Observance committee program coordinator. “We scheduled a variety of events because our main focus is to encourage interaction in the KMC.”

The heritage month had an early start Saturday with the Apollo Night Talent Show at Armstrong’s Community Club on Vogelweh. Performers included singers, rappers and rap groups, dance groups, comedians and a lyricist. The first place winner was songstress Timoeshea Brigham, Comedian Clint Hunt won second place, and singer Shelley Winter was third.

“We even had to turn people away because it got too crowded,” said Captain Anderson.

The kick-off luncheon was Wednesday at the Ramstein Officers’ Club.
The guest speaker was Col. Anthony Thompson, Headquarters U.S. Air Forces in Europe Financial Analysis Division chief. He talked about his memory of Dr. Martin Luther King’s murder.

“At that moment in time and that general period of enlightenment, my life changed forever and it certainly gives me the passion to share a great account in African American history that helped transform us from America then to our America now,” said Colonel Thompson. “I knew that I would never let anyone or anything stop me from reaching my true potential as a man based on the color of my skin.”

Activities continue with a fashion show under the motto “Love, Peace and Happiness” at 8 p.m. Feb. 12 at the Ramstein Officers’ Club. Coordinator Ivy Ellis presents “Love, Peace and Happiness” by Serendipity Models. Advance tickets cost $8; tickets at the door are $12.

Students of elementary and middle schools in the KMC can submit entries for the W.E.B. Du Bois Art Contest by Feb. 17. Entry forms are available at the schools. Prizes are $100, $75 and $50 savings bonds. W.E.B. Du Bois was an American civil-rights leader and author, early exponent of full equality for African Americans and co-founder of the Niagara Movement.

High school students can participate in the W.E.B. Du Bois High School Lyrics and Poetry Contest. They must submit their entries by Feb. 15. Winners receive savings bonds in the amount of $300, $200 and $200. Performance date is 3 p.m. Feb. 19 at the Vogelweh Community Center.

Individual actors and actresses present “A Lesson before Dying,” a play by Romulus Linney, based on a novel by Ernest J. Gaines, 8 p.m. Feb. 18 and 19 at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center Heaton Auditorium. Advance tickets are $10 and $12 at the door.

The African American Heritage Observance Month closes out with a finale banquet, “A Night of Elegance,” Feb. 25 at the Ramstein Officers’ Club. Social hours starts at 6 p.m. and dinner is at 7 p.m. The Vogelweh Male Chorus will perform. Advance tickets are required by Feb. 22 and cost $17 for club members and $20 for non-members.

For ticket information, call Captain Anderson at 480-6226.