The relevance of African-American history

  • Published
  • By Florency Clay, Kurt Higgins and Elijah Lewis
  • Keesler African-American Heritage Committee
The African-American Heritage Committee helps the Keesler community perpetuate the relevancy of Black History Month through several activities including a bowling tournament today, a gospel concert Saturday and a Black History Luncheon Feb. 28. The month-long campaign spreads awareness of African-American heritage and can teach lessons about the past.
The AAHC began in the 1980s and is a non-profit organization that strives to educate the base populous and the surrounding communities about African-American Heritage.

Membership is open to all Keesler personnel regardless of race, sex, color, religion or national origin. The goal of the AAHC is to help others learn about traditions and experience African-American heritage. Since the inception of the organization, many military members and civilians have contributed thousands of hours to spreading awareness and helping others.

The committee also believes it is extremely important to offer young people an opportunity to help meet their educational goals. Members do this by assisting local college-bound students in the Gulf Coast area with financial aid through the Col. Lawrence E. Roberts Scholarship Fund. Roberts, a Tuskegee Airman, lived and worked in our community for many years. He was an encouragement to young troops and represented Keesler by sharing information of faith, family and friends throughout this community. Before his death on Oct. 12, 2004, he left a legacy to honor, educate and commemorate the achievements of others.

Over the last 12 years, the AAHC has given more than $60,000 to local high school students. Last year, we awarded five $1,000 scholarships. The goal for 2013 is to do as well or better than last year.

The reason we celebrate black history is to inspire, create awareness and respect and honor the pioneers who paved the way for parity. Let's continue to strive to make Black History Month relevant by actively participating in these opportunities for reflection and growth and by continuing our living history.