Friday, February 12, 2010

Black History Month

AFA Members, Congressional staffers, Civic leaders, and DOCA members, in February every year, the nation celebrates Black History month. For this year, I asked Dr. Alan Gropman, Distinguished Professor of National Security Policy at the Industrial College of the Armed Forces … and arguably this country’s foremost expert on Blacks in the military, to write a piece to gave us a better understanding of why we recognize this subject throughout the month.

His piece is remarkable by a number of measures … first, he brings to the forefront the many contributions of Blacks to our military history. Secondly, he points to the heroism of the many individuals in the Revolutionary War, the War of 1812, the Civil War, and the World Wars I and II – heroism that most Americans [me included] did not know. Finally he highlights the many contributions of the Tuskegee Airmen to our war effort in World War II. Their extraordinary achievements were but one reason why the Air Force Association recognized the Tuskegee Airmen for a Lifetime Achievement Award – the first ever awarded to a group (rather than an individual) this past year.

Read the piece and tell me what you think. You can find it on our website at: http://www.afa.org/EdOp/2010/AFA_Black_History_Month_2010.asp

For your consideration.

Mike

13 comments:

Russ said...

As usual, Al Gropman writes with clarity and with his heart. This is a great article. Congratulations to Al from an Air War College classmate.

Respectfully,

Russ Violett

david.hart said...

aThis article is such that I forwarded it to my local newspaper for publication. I would recommend that all of us forward it such especially in small communitites like mine.

david.hart said...

This article is such that I forwarded to my local newspaper for publication. I would recommend that we all do this, especially in small communities like I now live in.

Colstarzyk said...

Excellent piece. Reminded me of a class in my Air War College seminar that covered racism in the Army Air Corps. Besides the obvious moral problems of racism and its wasting of the valuable resources of personnel and funding, it also calls into question as to the true loyalty of uniformed personnel who take an oath to defend the constitution of the United States then ignore portions of that same document - especially in wartime.

Colstarzyk said...

Excellent piece. Reminded me of a class in my AWC seminar on racism in the Army Air Corps. Besides the obvious moral wrong objections to racism, it also resulted in a waste of that valuable resource of time and personnel. It also calls into question the loyality of those in uniform who take an oath to defend the constitution of the United States then choose to ignore it, during wartime. (Col John M. Starzyk, USAFR, Ret.)

Tom Garcia said...

Fine article by Dr. Gropman. One quibble: Where he says "The 99th Pursuit Squadron—an all black unit from top to bottom—was the first air unit created." Not all black from top to bottom as reported below -
During its training, the 99th Fighter Squadron was commanded by white and Puerto Rican officers, beginning with Major James Ellison. By 1942, Colonel Frederick Kimble oversaw operations at the Tuskegee airfield. Kimble maintained segregation on the field in deference to local customs, a policy the airmen resented. Later that year, the Air Corps replaced Kimble with the director of instruction at Tuskegee Army Airfield, Major Noel F. Parrish. Parrish, counter to the prevalent racism of the day, was fair and open-minded, and petitioned Washington to allow the Tuskegee Airmen to serve in combat.

The Webmastor said...

Black History Month is still significant in that it gives us the opportunity to highlight the achievements of black Americans in this nation. It helps us as a people to overcome the effects of Jim Crow, etc.
I consider that it is helpful for all americans to know the true history of this nation. For example, the Astronaut Corp includes more blacks than the percentage of the population. The current NASA Administrator is a retired Marine Major General and retired Astronaut who commanded the shuttle mission to the Hubble telescope.
be blessed
Tsgt (Retired) Al Paris

Joseph Ludford said...

I read Dr. Gropman's essay. Well done. I wasn't aware of the degree to which black Americans were excluded from our military services. What were we thinking?

GDarryl said...

This is a great article and a must read for any student of military history. Dr. Alan Gropman was one of my professors at ICAF ('03). It is obvious why he is a recognized expert on Black military history. Well done Dr. Gropman!
G. Darryl Smith
Col(Ret.), USAF

Leon J Wright Detroit 100th CDR said...

Aviators of history have been in the backfield for many years. Now they come to the forefront to teach from the History that was not allowed in many books I taught from.

This should be public to students all school year. Not just Black History Month.

Joseph said...

What an enlightening article! I was aware of black accomplishments during Black History month while on active duty but his article made a profound impression. I was unaware of the number of Medal of Honor winners as well as other interesting facts the author pointed out. Tremendous. Thanks for passing it along.

The Webmastor said...

We should not forget that this happened in every area of life for black Americans, noting that in spite of the hardships unfairly imposed we remained loyal to our nation and our God.

Preacher said...

Black History does continues today. Let not History mean look back. Lets look forward.