Tuesday, February 14, 2012

In Case You Missed It: Black History Month Highlights

In honor of African American history month, here are all previous post links to our "African American History Month Highlights" postings over the past year.  We have also included the "Blacks in Blue Jackets" pamphlet as a .jpg so it is easy to download.  Enjoy:

Siah Carter (Originally Posted February 10, 2012)

A Trend Worth Following (Originally Posted February 6, 2012)

Honor, Courage, Commitment (Originally Posted February 27, 2011)

Aaron Anderson (Originally Posted February 25, 2011)

John Lawson (Originally Posted February 24, 2011)

Robert Blake (Originally Posted February 16, 2011)

William Tillman (Originally Posted February 14, 2011)

Lawson and Robert Smalls (Originally Posted February 7, 2010)

Introductory Post on African American Sailors (Originally Posted February 4, 2010)
Blacks in Blue Jackets: Page 1

Blacks in Blue Jackets: Page 2
A Note on African American History Month
Celebrated actor Morgan Freeman said it best in an interview o 60 minutes.  Freeman does not personally ascribe to terms like "Black History Month" or "African American History Month."  Instead, Freeman declared that "Black history is American history."  While there are those who agree and disagree on both sides, the sentiment is as true today as it was when it was originally created in the mid 1920s.  No matter what, we are all distinctly American.  The trials and tribulations of millions of citizens and soldiers both North and South 150 years ago tells us how far each side went to prove their beliefs and values.  At the cost of over 620,000 men, that dream was realized by the United States of America and Abraham Lincoln, the intrepid President who turned the country's greatest struggle into a moral, ethical, and military victory.  On the blood and toil of millions of soldiers and sailors around the world, the war ultimately brought about revolutionary change in the institution of slavery.  As a statement, the Emancipation Proclamation shifted the war's overall focus.  If there ever was doubt that the war began over the complicated nature of slavery, President Lincoln silenced any doubt with the Proclamation.  It became the necessary stepping stone to the post-war Amendments granting slaves their freedom. 

In what better anniversary lately can Americans come together and celebrate and commemorate the spirited role played by African Americans during the Civil War? 

Professor and historian Stephen Ramold, author of Slaves, Sailors, and Contrabands, summed up the role of African American sailors nicely in a 2004 interview with The Journal of African American History:  "They were Americans who didn't hesitate to fight for their country."  Whatever color you may be, we are all Americans.  Help to commemorate and honor those men and woman who fought to keep it that way.  Keep the discussion going in whatever way you can.  How do we celebrate?  Why do we celebrate?  I think the question speaks for itself. 

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