NEWS | Feb. 13, 2019

USARCENT Celebrates Black History Month with Music, Guest Speakers

By Staff Sgt. Matthew Britton U.S. Army Central

United States Army Central (USARCENT) held an observance to highlight and celebrate Black History Month at the command’s headquarters, Patton Hall, Feb. 13. 

The command welcomed guest speaker, Mrs. Brenda C. Murphy, president of the South Carolina's state conference of the NAACP. Crestwood High School’s “Singing Knights” choir also provided a musical performance by way of songs with African-American origins. 

Members of USARCENT crowded into the large conference room to celebrate the event together. Authentic African-American food was catered in to be shared and experienced by the attendees after the observance. 

Opening remarks made by Chief Warrant Officer 5, Marcus A. Griffin, reflected on the origin of Black History Month, and the heroes of the civil rights movement who helped change the world into what it is today.

“Americans have been coming together each February to reflect on how far our nation, especially our African-American communities, have traveled for equality and freedom,” said Griffin. “For well over two centuries now, we as a people, have been striving to build a more perfect union. Black History Month is also a time to reflect on contributions that African-Americans make and have made to the American society, and to recognize the numerous struggles that define African-American experience in America.”

Griffin referenced the adversity he faced throughout his lifetime, and how he overcame it to serve in the position he’s in today.

“I stand before you today as an African-American who has actually been through some form of prejudice in my lifetime,” said Griffin. “But I always remember heroes like Rosa Parks and Dr. King, Jr. who always remained steadfast, focused and endured much fiercer inequality in their day than I have today. Without these iconic men and women and their unequivocal determination for equality, I would not be standing here having made it to the top of the chief warrant officer ranks of CW5 in the United States Army. The American way of life becomes history, which comes full circle to this month’s theme, black history, is American history.”

Murphy, discussed the importance of recognizing Black History Month every day.

“We must recognize everything they have done and do what we can to preserve our history and our heritage,” said Murphy. “Not only during the month of February, but every day. We need to refocus ourselves to be vigilant in our efforts to ensure it takes the right place in our nation’s history as we tell the stories of those who have come thus far as a nation today.”

Murphy also spoke about the nation’s challenges, and emphasized how vital it is that Americans continue to fight for positive change. 

“We must realize the importance of Black History Month as we celebrate how far we’ve come,” said Murphy. “And I’m not saying we haven’t accomplished very much, it’s very evident in terms of you today, as I look out into the audience and see the number of African-American commissioned officers and enlisted [non] commissioned officers. The numbers have increased significantly. We must recognize positive changes. Now more than ever, we must stand united and resist efforts that will resent us from moving forward as a nation together.”