African American Heritage Month at Seymour Johnson AFB

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Ashley Williamson
  • 4 Fighter Wing Public Affairs

Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, North Carolina held events such as a movie night, book readings and trivia night to commemorate African-American History Month.

These events are meant to remind people of the positive impact African-Americans have had in transforming our country and continue to have on the military as well as everyday life in America, said Tech Sgt. Jennifer Douglas, 4th Operations Support Squadron special security representative. These events are important tools to use that allow members on base to remember specific accomplishments and contributions of individuals who played a significant role in the fight against inequality.

Individuals like Martin Luther King, Jr., Abraham Lincoln and James T. Whitehead, Jr. led the way for African-Americans to obtain equal rights and allow them to undertake any challenge. Throughout history, African-Americans have fought through slavery, struggled to acquire suffrage and, even today, undertake the fight against racism. Time and time again, they’ve proven their resiliency.

“AAHM means honoring those who came before me,” said Senior Airman Vanessa Williams, 4th Operations Support Squadron intelligence analyst. “Acknowledging the individuals who paved the way for me to be where I am today, as well as understanding the sacrifices that were made and not taking them for granted.”

AAHM highlights all African-Americans making leaps and bounds in America’s history, such as the famous Tuskegee Airmen. The 926 members, a combined assembly of Airmen from the 99th Pursuit Squadron and the 332nd Fighter Group, who were trained to fight in World War II, achieving 112 victories.

More recently, Gen. Larry O. Spencer, Air Force vice Chief of Staff, retired Aug. 7, 2015. His service and successes would not have been possible without the impact of the actions of the African-American heroes that came before him.

AAHM is about diversity and acceptance. It bridges the gap between differing cultures and celebrates how much African-Americans have thrived. Educating children about the month with fun events, like book readings, movies and trivia nights, provide opportunities for them to learn a part of America’s history and appreciate what they have. The events benefit not only children, but adults as well by bringing people together and arming them with knowledge to better the future for everyone.

“Education is key to understanding,” Douglas said. “Understanding the challenges can help pave the way for continued future successes. Recognizing AAHM can help bring awareness to the struggles that African-Americans had to overcome in this country and how their contributions and actions have made America a better place.”