Written By: 400 Years of African American History Commission
Washington, D.C. — October 27, 2023 – African Americans have played a monumental role in the United States Armed Forces, dating all the way back to the American Revolution. From Tuskegee Airmen to the 761st Tank Battalion, they’ve had a long history of sacrifice and bravery on the front lines. African Americans battled institutionalized racism at home and enforced segregation in the military. The latter would continue until 1948, when President Harry S. Truman desegregated the armed forces in Executive Order 9981.
The 400 Years of African American Commission (400YAAHC) presents “A Tribute to African Americans in the Military.” The program sheds light on African Americans and their history of military service. The tribute is hosted by Dr. Joseph Green, a Harrisburg, Pennsylvania native, Navy veteran, and Commissioner on the 400 Years of African American History Commission. Dr. Green remarked “we have fought for the freedom of this country, even when that very freedom escaped us. There are times when we have had to prove ourselves, just to die for a country that didn’t fully accept us. We are fully vested and battle-proven, and we believe that the future of endless possibilities is much brighter than the past. America is great in part because we have answered the call whenever needed. We are America!”
Richard Brookshire, CEO and co-founder of the Black Veteran’s Project, was invited to an early screening of the presentation. After viewing he went on to remark that “the service of Black Americans in our nation’s military has long illuminated an endemic tension between deep-seated patriotism and the recognition of an elusive sense of equity and justice. As we mark the 75th anniversary of the desegregation of our Armed Forces and near our nation’s Semiquincentennial celebration, the critical work of the 400 Years of African American History Commission and its latest public program, “A Tribute to African Americans in the Military” uplifts a nuanced narrative at a time of increasing historical erasure. Black Veterans Project applauds the Commission’s vital efforts and encourages the public to honor the unique legacy, historical plight and resounding contributions of Black veterans in uniform and beyond.”
This special presentation also includes testimonials from Captain Victor J. Glover, Jr., a former Navy pilot currently scheduled to pilot the Artemis II Lunar mission in 2024. The 82nd Airborne Division All-American Chorus will close out the program with a performance of “Lift Every Voice and Sing.”
The program serves to honor fearless Veterans whose stories showcase generations of indomitable spirit. “A Tribute to African Americans in the Military” is a special History Matters presentation in recognition of Veterans Day by the 400 Years of African American History Commission. It will premiere on Friday, November 10 in recognition of National Veterans Day, on the Commission’s website: www.400yaahc.gov and on its streaming television channel on smogotelevision.com. SMOGO can also be accessed on Roku, Apple TV and Amazon Fire.