Feb. 24, 2011

Stage play showcases lives and philosophies of African American leaders

By Staff Sgt. Andrew H. Owen
Virginia Guard Public Affairs

FORT PICKETT, Va. — The Virginia National Guard celebrated Black History Month by hosting the stage play "The Meeting" Feb. 23 at the Fort Pickett Theatre. The production from Pin Points Theatre shows what might have happened if Malcolm X and Dr. Martin Luther King met before they were assassinated and gives insights to the lives, philosophies and times of the African American leaders.


A Virginia National Guard Soldier looks over the informational displays at the Black History Month program sponsored by the Virginia National Guard Feb. 23 at Fort Pickett. (Photo by Staff Sgt. Andrew H. Owen, Virginia Guard Public Affairs)

Soldiers of the Virginia National Guard, students from Nottoway High School Navy Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps and Parkview High School Air Force JROTC attended the program as well as special guest Brig. Gen. Janice G. Igou, director of interagency operations for the Virginia National Guard.  Those in attendance enjoyed the performance and were welcomed to refreshments following the presentation, which focused on African-American history and the importance of diversity in America.

“Observing Black History Month is important to the Virginia Guard because it is a chance to recognize the achievements and contributions that African Americans have made to America and the world, and it raises awareness that the greatness of our military was achieved by the work of many different groups of people,” said Capt. Kervin Sider, Virginia Equal Opportunity officer.

“We need to always look back and reflect on our heritage and our culture,” said Igou. “I think this presentation certainly gave us some things to think about. You have to give credit to these men (Dr. King and Malcolm X) for being change agents and taking risks to do what they thought needed to be done to make things better.”

Black History Month found its origins in the summer of 1915 when Dr. Carter G. Woodson, an African-American historian, travelled to Chicago to participate in the celebration of the 50th anniversary of emancipation there, according to Sider. Ten years later, Woodson created Negro History Week, which by the early 1970’s had grown into Black History Month.

Every February since 1976, the U.S. President issues a proclamation declaring the second month of the year as Black History Month or National African-American History Month, Sider added.

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