Story by Bruce Cummins on 02/26/2019PENSACOLA, Fla. Naval Air Station (NAS) Pensacola service members and civilian employees observed the command's Black History Month observance Feb. 22.
The event, hosted by the NAS Pensacola Diversity Committee, included opening remarks from NAS Pensacola Command Master Chief Mario Rivers, and guest speakers Lt. Cmdr. Anitra Mingo, the NAS Pensacola Administrative Officer; Mr. Ellis Jones and Ms. Diane Robinson, curators at Pensacola's Chappie James Museum; and Pensacola, Florida, native and boxing legend Roy Jones, Jr.
"Celebrating the diversity of the service members who staff our armed forces is something we should all champion," Rivers, a Pensacola, Florida, native said. "The African-American Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Coastguardsmen and Marines who have served in our country's military have made it possible for those serving today to enjoy freedoms not constrained by the color of their skin."
The hour-long observance, designed around the 2019 Black History Month Theme of Black Migrations, served as an opportunity to highlight the movement of individuals of African descent to new destinations and new social realities, according to NAS Pensacola Diversity Committee President Air Traffic Controller 1st Class Michael Aguilera.
"It's important to remember that not all that long ago, African-Americans could only serve in the Navy in support roles," he said. "Remembering how far we've come as an organization is important to all of us here today, and celebrating our differences and similarities through gatherings such as this serves to reinforce to all generations the importance of a diverse workforce."
National African-American History Month, also known as Black History month, is an annual celebration of achievements by African-Americans in the struggle for freedom and a time for recognizing the central role this demographic has played in the history of the United States.
Since 1976, every U.S. President has officially designated the month of February as National African-American/Black History Month. The month originated in 1915 when noted historian and author Dr. Carter G. Woodson founded the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History. Through this organization, Woodson initiated the first Negro History Week in February 1926.
NAS Pensacola, referred to as the "Cradle of Naval Aviation," is designed to support operational and training missions of tenant commands, including Naval Air Technical Training Center (NATTC), Naval Aviation Schools Command (NASC), the Center for Naval Aviation Technical Training (CNATT), Marine Aviation Training Support Groups (MATSG) 21 and 23 and is the headquarters for Naval Education and Training Command (NETC).