African American contributions celebrated
By Sgt. Phuong Chau
| | February 26, 2002
MARINE CORPS LOGISTICS BASE ALBANY, Ga. -- The Base's celebration of Black History Month, or what is now commonly referred to as African American Heritage Month, concluded Wednesday with a breakfast at the Marine Corps Community Services' Crossroads Restaurant.
People may wonder why Black History Month is observed, said Hattie Mosely of the Contracts Business Management Office. Black History Month observances do not refer necessarily to the past struggle of African Americans, but rather is more about celebrating their contributions.
"We celebrate Black History Month because the legacy of racism is still alive in America," said Mosely. "We celebrate black history so we don't offend 77 years of progress. It is really about making life better for those who are here as well as for those yet to come."
According to Michael Cassell of the Albany Maintenance Center, the breakfast brought concluded all the activities held throughout the month.
"My hope is for all of you to leave here with a better understanding [of Black History and African American heritage]," said Cassell.
The guest speaker at the breakfast was associate counsel for Marine Corps Logistics Bases Johnny L. Littman III.
"This was a time for African Americans to pause and look at where they have been," said Littman. "You might see some glory, but there is an untold story."
Littman said that blacks have made significant historic accomplishments over the years, but many stories about black history remain unknown.
Black history was particularly important for Littman as a child, he said.
"I recall my grandmother, who only had a fourth-grade education," said Littman, reminiscing about the older lady's urging her children and grandchildren to strive for improved quality of life. She worked in a cafeteria to ensure her children could attend school.
His grandmother's story is only one among many African American stories that make black history so important, said Littman, reminding his audience that they will be less likely to take their heritage for granted if they focus on the positive aspects of African American accomplishments, despite the persistence of some of today's racial issues.