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News | Feb. 14, 2022

Black History Month focuses on ‘Health and Wellness’

By Thomas Perry DCMA Public Affairs

Defense Contract Management Agency and the greater Department of Defense community celebrate Black History Month in February.

The observance’s national theme “Black Health and Wellness” focuses on the well-being of the African American community. An Undersecretary of Defense memorandum announcing the 2022 theme detailed its importance:

“The African American community has experienced violent crimes and encountered social, economic and other inequities. These stressors can take a toll on the health and wellness of African Americans. The department is taking action aligned with presidential directives to address inequities which may negatively affect the health and wellness of African Americans and other minority groups.”

In President Joe Biden’s National Black History Month Proclamation, he discussed the month’s important role in acknowledging America’s past and working toward a better future.

“Each February, National Black History Month serves as both a celebration and a powerful reminder that Black history is American history, Black culture is American culture and Black stories are essential to the ongoing story of America — our faults, our struggles, our progress and our aspirations,” he said. “Shining a light on Black history today is as important to understanding ourselves and growing stronger as a nation as it has ever been. That is why it is essential that we take time to celebrate the immeasurable contributions of Black Americans, honor the legacies and achievements of generations past, reckon with centuries of injustice, and confront those injustices that still fester today.”

For agency team members, Equal Employment Opportunity’s virtual observance will be held Feb. 24 at 11 a.m. EST. The event features the Honorable Shirley Jones, a senior executive service member. She is the managing associate general counsel within Government Accountability Office’s Office of General Counsel. She also serves as the 15th national president for the Blacks in Government national organization.

“This is a great opportunity for the entire agency to share in a unique experience, learn new perspectives and ask questions of a great leader with a diverse professional background,” said Linda Galimore, EEO director. “Black Americans have positively impacted all aspects of American society. Their historical contributions in military, federal and community service have come despite facing adversity, racism and inequality. Opportunities to discover the stories of these American heroes are available now and throughout the year.”

African American Civil Rights Network
Explore the African American Civil Rights Network, which connects locations across the country to share the story of the Civil Rights Movement. The network includes properties, facilities and programs that represent a comprehensive history of people, places and events connected with the African American Civil Rights movement. A wide range of sites are available, including well-known places to lesser-known people or events that promoted the movement locally, regionally and nationally.

First Black Woman to Lead Federal Agency
Take a virtual tour through Mary McLeod Bethune Council House National Historic Site in Washington, D.C., to learn about a 20th-century leader who exceled in education and civil service. From Bethune’s home, she spearheaded civil rights campaigns to support African American women. She also created the National Archives for Black Women’s History.

From serving as an advisor to several presidents and being appointed to various commissions that advised presidents on labor, education and youth employment, Bethune has a storied path as a civil servant. Her most notable role began in 1935 when President Franklin D. Roosevelt asked her to serve as a special advisor to the National Youth Administration. She created a division to better address the needs of Black youth. Her efforts led Roosevelt to promote her to director, making her the first African American woman to head a federal agency.

Taking History to the Bank
The Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture presents “Historically Speaking: A Great Moral and Social Force — Conversation with Timothy Todd” Feb. 22 at 7 p.m. EST.

The discussion focuses on African American financial institution development, and how these institutions “fostered economic independence and wealth-building within African American communities during Reconstruction and beyond.”

Todd will provide the social and historic contexts for the establishment of Black bank ownership by focusing on their emergence in the cities of Richmond, Virginia; Boley, Oklahoma; Chicago, Illinois; Memphis, Tennessee; and Detroit, Michigan.

Sea Stories and Deep Dives
The Naval History and Heritage Command offers a comprehensive look at the long history of African American naval service.

“Today’s African American Sailors stand proudly knowing the accomplishments of their predecessors, including the eight Black Sailors who earned the Medal of Honor during the Civil War; Dick Henry Turpin, one of the survivors of the explosion aboard the battleship Maine; and the 14 Black female yeomen who enlisted during World War I. The Navy planted the seeds for racial integration during World War II and trained a generation of outstanding African American officers and enlisted personnel who provided critical leadership and expertise during the Cold War.”

Maritime Underground Railroad
The Library of Congress is hosting a panel discussion on the Maritime Underground Railroad Feb. 23, 7 p.m. EST on the LOC YouTube channel.

The Maritime Underground Railroad panel features Timothy D. Walker, Cheryl Janifer LaRoche and Cassandra Newby-Alexander. It will be moderated by Kluge Center Director John Haskell. The group will discuss how enslaved people found their way to freedom on the waterways of North America.