D.C. Air National Guard honors Black History Month Published March 1, 2023 By Senior Airman Natalie Filzen 113th Wing Public Affairs JOINT BASE ANDREWS, Md. -- Excellence is not born, but rather cultivated through lessons learned, shared experiences and flexibility to adapt to an evolving society. Likewise, established rules should have room to grow and develop along with its followers. The 1892 case of Plessy v. Ferguson, the ruling that legalized segregation, was later overturned after awareness of the inhumanity of the original legislation came to light. Afterwards, several spaces of society began to follow suit. In 1967, 56 years ago, marriages were desegregated in the seminal case of Loving v. Virgina. In 1964, 59 years ago, that discrimination was forbidden in restaurants in the case of Katzenbach v. McClung. In 1954, 69 years ago, schools were desegregated in the case of Brown v. Board of Education. But it was in 1948, 75 years ago, that the military was one of the first sectors of the country to desegregate, staying true to a spearheading character at the frontline of contention. Today the military continues to recognize every person’s value–including their background, history, predecessors–the whole of what makes them unique. D.C Air National Guard Senior Airman Elijah Lamar, a fleet manager with the 113th Logistics Readiness Squadron, recognizes his history and future by purchasing books on prominent black figures for his children to further educate them on their background. “My grandfather was a Marine and my father was an Army paratrooper in the Vietnam War,” said Lamar. “They greatly influenced my decision to join the military due to the profound respect they had for protecting and leading the citizens of America.” “I feel pride and achievement in this year being the 75th year of desegregation in the military. I am proud to serve my country and be respected as any other military member who wears a uniform,” said Lamar. As the world becomes more fast-paced and connected, we are constantly barraged by news from every corner of life. Emails come through to inboxes in the hundreds and innovative ideas are announced every second. A day can easily slip into perpetual noise, and it can take some effort to set aside time for silence. While Black history and African American achievements are appreciated year-round, recognizing a month to intentionally celebrate African American contributions to the United States can be a much needed pause to meditate on such triumphs. In a conference room at Joint Base Andrews, Maryland, Airmen gather to recognize pivotal figures in African American history. One Airman takes the podium to recite poetry inspired by these powerful individuals, and another shares their famous quotes and life events. “I think it’s important that the military supports these events, as everyone is welcome to attend and learn about history,” said Staff Sgt. Erik Young, 113th Logistics Readiness Squadron. “As a black man in the military, black history month is every day, so that is why I came out to do my part.” Staff Sgt. Kerri McCullough, 113th Medical Group, who has a background in education, added a quiz to her presentation, challenging her audience to fully engage in the knowledge learning. “Understanding where everybody comes from is important, and even on a busy [drill weekend], you should do your best to come out and show support,” said McCoullough. Senior Airman David Mayers, 113th Civil Engineer Squadron, also celebrates black history month by visiting physical spaces for meaningful contemplation, such as the National African American Museum in Washington, DC. “This allows me to reflect heavily on culture and allows me to understand how far we have come,” says Mayers. Growth towards excellence entails learning from the past and building from its momentum. The U.S. Air Force continues to carry the torch onward from these accomplishments and to the future.