Black History Month celebrates diversity

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. JT May III
  • 92nd Air Refueling Wing Public Affairs Office
Black History Month is the successor to Negro History Week which was initiated on February 12, 1926 by Carter G. Woodson. Woodson an African American historian, author and journalist chose February because it included the birthdays of Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass, whom he believed had significantly impacted the lives of Black Americans.

When the country sets forth to highlight Black History Month, a celebration of the culture, accomplishments and contributions of black Americans throughout history, Chief Master Sgt Gerald Gooding, 92nd Mission Support Group superintendent, reflects on personal experiences in the Air Force.

Chief Gooding enlisted in the Air Force for the limitless opportunity, education and chance to defend the United States of America. Chief Gooding has served 26 years in the military and has seen a positive evolution of Black History Month throughout his career.

In 1983, when Chief Gooding enlisted, there were not as many programs as there are now. He remembered when black history observance was more of a luncheon opposed to a month. Thoroughout the years the military continued to promote awareness and diversity especially the Air Force. "The Air Force is light years ahead of equal opportunity employers. They create an environment which recognizes and integrates various cultures, background and upbringing." Chief Gooding said.

Chief Gooding is an active member of the African American Heritage Committee here. The AAHC promotes cultural awareness throughout the base and local community. A cake cutting ceremony on Feb 2 signaled the beginning of the festivities. The committee has various events planned in the month of February such as book readings at Michael Anderson Elementary. The readings feature African American authors, writers and poets. A luncheon on the 26th at Club Fairchild will culminate the events.

Chief Gooding believes Black History Month is an important part of American history and reminds of us how far we have become as a Nation. Gooding said "The importance of Black History Month stresses the numerous contributions blacks have made to the military and Nation as a whole."