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Team Hill to honor Black History Month throughout February

A graphic depicting World War II soldiers and aircraft, and Black History Month Theme, "Honoring the Past, Securing the Future!"

This year's Black History Month theme is "Honoring the Past, Securing the Future!" Throughout the month of February, Hill Air Force Base will celebrate Black History Month with a town hall meeting and other activities. (Graphic courtesy of the Defense Equal Opportunity Management Institute)

HILL AIR FORCE BASE, Utah -- Feb. 1 marks the first day of Black History Month, an annual celebration of the achievements by African Americans and a time for recognizing their central role in U.S. history.

The story of Black History Month begins in 1915, half a century after the 13th Amendment abolished slavery. The Association for the Study of African American Life and History sponsored a national Negro History Week in 1926, choosing the second week of February to coincide with the birthdays of Abraham Lincoln and Fredrick Douglass.

This action eventually inspired mayors from cities across the country, leading to various proclamations recognizing Negro History Week. President Gerald Ford officially recognized Black History Month in 1976.

Black History Month provides us with the opportunity to honor many prominent figures of the African American community, both current and historical. Roy Wilkins headed the oldest and largest of the civil rights organizations, The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, or NAACP, and remained a moderate, but insistent voice for progressive action.

The Tuskegee Airmen flew more than 200 combat missions in World War II and lost none of their own to enemy fire, leaving behind a second-to-none fighting record. Finally, Dr. Carter G. Woodson founded the celebration he called Negro History Week, ultimately leading to the establishment of Black History Month.

This month, Hill Air Force Base and the African American Heritage Committee will be hosting several events in the celebration of Black History Month. Dates and times are still being determined, but there will be a town hall meeting to honor this month’s observance, and to discuss the importance of diversity and inclusion.

We will also take the time to honor some current prominent figures of the African American community by sharing their stories and the impacts they made, as well as literature to learn more about the importance of Black History Month.