OBSERVANCE OF AFRICAN AMERICAN/BLACK HISTORY MONTH 2013

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SUBJ: OBSERVANCE OF AFRICAN AMERICAN/BLACK HISTORY MONTH 2013 UNCLASSIFIED/ FM 
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SUBJ/OBSERVANCE OF AFRICAN AMERICAN/BLACK HISTORY MONTH 2013//



RMKS/1.  THIS NAVADMIN ANNOUNCES THE NATIONAL OBSERVANCE OF AFRICAN 
AMERICAN/BLACK HISTORY MONTH FROM 1-28 FEBRUARY 2013.  THE NATIONAL AND 
DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE THEME FOR THIS YEAR'S OBSERVANCE IS "AT THE CROSSROADS 
OF FREEDOM AND EQUALITY:  THE EMANCIPATION PROCLAMATION AND THE MARCH ON 
WASHINGTON."

2.  THE RECOGNITION OF AFRICAN AMERICAN/BLACK HISTORY MONTH ORIGINATED IN 1926 
AS NEGRO HISTORY WEEK.  OBSERVED DURING THE SECOND WEEK OF FEBRUARY, A WEEK 
THAT ENCOMPASSED THE BIRTHDAYS OF TWO CHAMPIONS OF EQUALITY, ABRAHAM LINCOLN 
AND FREDERICK DOUGLASS, THE EVENT BROUGHT NATIONAL RECOGNITION TO AFRICAN 
AMERICAN CONTRIBUTIONS TO AMERICA THROUGHOUT HER HISTORY.  FIFTY YEARS AFTER 
ITS CREATION, DURING THE BICENTENNIAL OF THE UNITED STATES IN 1976, PRESIDENT 
GERALD R. FORD EXPANDED THE OBSERVANCE AND PROCLAIMED FEBRUARY TO BE BLACK 
HISTORY MONTH.  THIS YEAR'S THEME, "AT THE CROSSROADS OF FREEDOM AND EQUALITY:  
THE EMANCIPATION PROCLAMATION AND THE MARCH ON WASHINGTON," RECOGNIZES BOTH 
THE 150TH ANNIVERSARY OF PRESIDENT ABRAHAM LINCOLN'S EMANCIPATION PROCLAMATION 
AND THE 50TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE MARCH ON WASHINGTON WHERE MARTIN LUTHER KING, 
JR. DELIVERED HIS "I HAVE A DREAM" SPEECH.  THE FIGHT FOR EQUALITY IN AMERICAN 
HISTORY AND THE INTEGRAL ROLE OF AFRICAN AMERICANS IN THAT FIGHT IS EMBODIED 
BY BOTH ANNIVERSARIES.

3.  AFRICAN AMERICAN SAILORS HAVE FOUGHT FOR FREEDOM AND EQUALITY, SERVING THE 
UNITED STATES HONORABLY THROUGH EVERY MAJOR ARMED CONFLICT SINCE THE 
REVOLUTIONARY WAR, INCLUDING OPERATION ODYSSEY DAWN AND OPERATION ENDURING 
FREEDOM.  TO DATE, THERE HAVE BEEN 87 AFRICAN AMERICAN CONGRESSIONAL MEDAL OF 
HONOR AWARD RECIPIENTS, INCLUDING EIGHT AFRICAN AMERICAN SAILORS WHO WERE 
BESTOWED THE AWARD FOR THEIR ACTIONS DURING THE CIVIL WAR.  TODAY, AFRICAN 
AMERICAN SAILORS COMPRISE OVER 17 PERCENT OF THE NAVY'S ACTIVE DUTY FORCE, 
PARTICIPATING IN EVERY FACET OF NAVAL OPERATIONS.  THE NEARLY 56,900 ACTIVE 
DUTY SAILORS, 8,300 RESERVE SAILORS, AND 26,700 NAVY CIVILIANS CONTRIBUTE TO 
OUR NAVY'S EFFORTS AND REPRESENT THE DIVERSITY THAT MAKES OUR NAVY AND NATION 
STRONG.

4.  AMONG THE MANY AFRICAN AMERICAN SAILORS WHO HAVE SERVED WITH DISTINCTION 
ARE THOSE FORGING THE WAY FOR FREEDOM AND EQUALITY.
LCDR WESLEY A. BROWN, WHO PASSED AWAY ON 22 MAY 2012, BECAME THE FIRST AFRICAN 
AMERICAN GRADUATE OF THE UNITED STATES NAVAL ACADEMY WHEN HE WAS COMMISSIONED 
IN 1949.  BROWN JOINED THE NAVY'S CIVIL ENGINEER CORPS AND HIS DETERMINATION 
AND SUCCESS BLAZED A TRAIL FOR FUTURE AFRICAN AMERICAN SAILORS STRIVING FOR 
EQUALITY.  EDNA YOUNG, THE FIRST AFRICAN AMERICAN WOMAN TO ENLIST IN THE 
REGULAR NAVY AND LATER THE FIRST AFRICAN AMERICAN WOMAN TO ACHIEVE THE RANK OF 
CHIEF PETTY OFFICER ALSO PASSED AWAY IN 2012.  YOUNG WAS A WORLD WAR II 
VETERAN WHO JOINED THE NAVY AFTER THE PASSAGE OF THE WOMEN'S ARMED SERVICES 
INTEGRATION ACT OF 7 JULY 1948.  ALSO IN 2012, VADM MICHELLE J. HOWARD MADE 
HISTORY AGAIN WHEN SHE BECAME THE FIRST AFRICAN AMERICAN WOMAN TO BE PROMOTED 
TO THE RANK OF VICE ADMIRAL.  IN MARCH 2013, FORCE MASTER CHIEF APRIL BELDO, 
CURRENTLY THE NAVAL EDUCATION AND TRAINING COMMAND FORCE MASTER  CHIEF, WILL 
MAKE HISTORY AS THE NAVY'S FIRST FEMALE AFRICAN AMERICAN FLEET MASTER CHIEF 
WHEN SHE ASSUMES DUTIES AS THE MANPOWER, PERSONNEL, TRAINING & EDUCATION FLEET 
MASTER CHIEF.  IN HER NEW POSITION, FORCM BELDO WILL BECOME ONE OF FOUR FLEET 
MASTER CHIEFS IN THE NAVY.
AFRICAN AMERICANS ALSO SERVE IN SIGNIFICANT SENIOR EXECUTIVE CIVILIAN ROLES IN 
THE DEPARTMENT OF THE NAVY, INCLUDING MS. STEFFANIE B. EASTER, DEPUTY 
DIRECTOR, JOINT STRIKE FIGHTER PROGRAM; MR. MARK RIDLEY,  DEPUTY DIRECTOR, 
NAVAL CRIMINAL INVESTIGATIVE SERVICE, AND MS. EILEEN ROBERSON, DIRECTOR, NAVAL 
FLEET AUXILIARY FORCE AND SPECIAL MISSION PROGRAMS MILITARY SEALIFT COMMAND.  
THESE OUTSTANDING EXAMPLES OF AFRICAN AMERICAN SAILORS AND CIVILIANS ARE JUST 
A HANDFUL OF THOSE MARKING HISTORY WITH FIRSTS AND DISTINGUISHING THE NAVY AS 
A FORCE FOR FREEDOM AND EQUALITY.

5.  ALL COMMANDS ARE STRONGLY ENCOURAGED TO UTILIZE THIS MONTH TO INCREASE 
THEIR UNDERSTANDING AND AWARENESS OF THE MANY CONTRIBUTIONS AFRICAN AMERICANS 
HAVE MADE TO THE NAVY BY SUPPORTING PROGRAMS, EXHIBITS, PUBLICATIONS, AND 
PARTICIPATION IN MILITARY AND COMMUNITY EVENTS.  MORE INFORMATION ON DIVERSITY 
CONFERENCES, EVENTS, AND OBSERVANCES IS AVAILABLE AT THE NAVY DIVERSITY AND 
INCLUSION WEB SITE AT HTTP://WWW.PUBLIC.NAVY.MIL/BUPERS-NPC/SUPPORT/DIVERSITY.  
A SHOWCASE OF AFRICAN AMERICANS IN NAVAL HISTORY CAN BE FOUND ON THE NAVAL 
HISTORY AND HERITAGE COMMAND WEBPAGE AT 
HTTP://WWW.HISTORY.NAVY.MIL/SPECIAL%20HIGHLIGHTS/AFRICANAMERICAN/
AFRICAN-HIST.HTM.

6.  POINT OF CONTACT IS ENS AMBER LYNN DANIEL, OFFICE OF DIVERSITY AND 
INCLUSION (OPNAV N134), AT (703) 604-5071 OR VIA E-MAIL AT 
AMBERLYNN.DANIEL(AT)NAVY.MIL.

7.  RELEASED BY VICE ADMIRAL S. R. VAN BUSKIRK, N1.//

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