What does African American Heritage/Black History Month mean to you?

  • Published
  • By Master Sgt. Jose Rivera and Senior Airman Marcus Magruder
  • 49th Operations Support Squadron Aircrew Flight Equipment
Americans have recognized black history annually since 1926. During this month, we reflect on past African Americans who contributed to the advancement of minorities, but what does this month really mean to you?

For this article, I enlisted the help of a bright young Airman to compare and contrast our feelings toward this month.

Master Sgt. Jose Rivera
For me, growing up in New York City, I lived in housing projects named after Frederick Douglass, a man who was known as an American social reformer, orator, writer and statesman.

At an early age I was taught about his achievements and learned the reason we celebrate African American Heritage/Black History Month was because this is also the month of his birthday.

When entering the Frederick Douglass projects, there was a sign that read, "If there is no struggle there is no progress" -- a quote by Mr. Douglass.

As a kid, I didn't understand what that quote meant, I was just sick of the struggling part. But as an adult it makes perfect sense to me now. African American Heritage/Black History Month is a time to reflect on the struggles many minorities faced as well as a time to celebrate the progress in which we have come as a country.

Senior Airman Marcus Magruder
To me, African American Heritage/Black History Month represents the accomplishments of African Americans in the past.

While information is available 365 days a year about key African Americans in history, African American Heritage/Black History Month is a time to reflect and gain motivation to achieve my personal goals.

During this month, I am looking forward to gaining information regarding my heritage. It's also a great opportunity to pass on knowledge to the younger generation. It's a time to for African Americans to share their culture with others.

Whether young or old, regardless of race, the feelings toward African American Heritage/Black History Month are the same: During this month we pay our respects to the past and leaders who fought for what was right. It's also a time to motivate ourselves to overcome obstacles and strive for a better tomorrow.