JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-LACKLAND, Texas –
The African-American Heritage Committee initiated the start of Black History Month in a ceremony filled with history, fashion, poems, jazz and soul food at Arnold Hall at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland Jan. 28.
The ceremony focused on the history of African-American voting rights and introduced a series of events that will occur throughout February in honor of Black History Month.
“It’s time to celebrate, to be joyful, to be thankful and to remember the legacy and history that has come before (us) and to lay down the history and legacy of the future,” said Col. Scott Thompson, 502nd Installation Support Group commander.
Several guest speakers covered cultural topics ranging from the history of jazz to the meaning of the colors found in traditional African clothing. Each speaker emphasized the cultural influence made on their topic by African-American people.
With the primary elections coming up, the ceremony put emphasis on the topic of voting and voting history. African-American men were not given the right to vote until 1870, and women had to wait nearly 50 years before receiving their right. Even after the rights were established, several laws and taxes still prevented equal voting rights for all. In 1965, the Federal Voting Rights Act enforced registration and voting rights for all.
2020 marks 150 years since African-American men were given the right to vote. The theme of this celebration is meant to emphasize the struggle of black men and black women for the right to vote, said Tech Sgt. Richard Smith Jr., event emcee.
The African-American Heritage Committee has planned several events throughout the month of February in celebration of Black History Month.
“Heritage celebrations like this event, kicking off African-American History Month, allow us to reflect and celebrate the diverse background, history and contributions to our society,” Thompson said. “The planned events for February are a great way to show our appreciation and celebrate the contributions of African-Americans that will honor the past and continue to secure the future of our great nation.”
Other Black History Month events include:
- Feb. 7 – JBSA Youth Basketball Clinic, 4:30 p.m., Lackland Youth Center. Call 210-977-4995 for more information.
- Feb. 10-13 – "Did You Know" movement, local elementary schools. Call 210-808-1094 for more information.
- Feb. 15 – Gospel Fest, noon, Freedom Chapel, JBSA-Lackland. Call 210-671-1755.
- Feb. 17-29 – Black History Month displays at The Exchange, JBSA-Lackland.
- Feb. 26 – Capstone Luncheon, 11 a.m., Gateway Club, JBSA-Lackland. Call 210-671-1758 for information.