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Black History Month concludes with celebration at Grand Forks AFB

An airman holds his young son while reading a poster.

An airman observes Black History Month posters during a celebration event at Grand Forks Air Force Base, N.D., Feb. 25, 2021. February is designated as Black History Month and is meant to celebrate the contributions of African Americans throughout U.S. history in areas such as arts, science, entertainment, law, politics, and sports. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Dakota C. LeGrand)

Photos and artifacts rest on a table in the Prairie Rose Chapel.

Displays portraying African American achievements are shown in the Prairie Rose Chapel during a Black History Month celebration at Grand Forks Air Force Base, N.D., Feb. 25, 2021. The Black History Month theme for the year is The Black Family: Representation, Identity and Diversity, which focuses on the progress, richness and diversity of African American contributions. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Dakota C. LeGrand)

Col. Timothy Curry stands next to Sonia Brumskill as they discuss African American history. Located behind them are displays of photos, documents and art.

Col. Timothy Curry, 319th Reconnaissance Wing vice commander, discusses African American history with Sonia Brumskill, 319th Civil Engineering Squadron service contract evaluator, during a Black History Month celebration in the Prairie Rose Chapel at Grand Forks Air Force Base, N.D., Feb. 25, 2021. The chapel was completely transformed for the event with a grand display of historical documents and artifacts to reflect on the achievements, contributions and teachings of African Americans throughout history. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Dakota C. LeGrand)

A black poster board displaying various photos of influential African Americans is surrounded by many books.

Books and photos portraying African American achievements are included in a display featured at a Black History Month celebration at Grand Forks Air Force Base, N.D., Feb. 25, 2021. The Grand Forks AFB Black History Month celebration presented displays that educated viewers on influential African Americans to include Martin R. Delany, abolitionist and Civil War soldier, Thurgood Marshall, lawyer and civil rights activist, and Eugene Jacques Bullard, first African American military pilot. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Dakota C. LeGrand)

Four individuals gather near a screen to watch a film.

Airmen watch a film featuring the history of African Americans during a Black History Month celebration in the Prairie Rose Chapel at Grand Forks Air Force Base, N.D., Feb. 25, 2021. The event included transforming the chapel with a display of historical artifacts and documents thanks to the African American Cultural Association and the Multicultural Committee at Grand Forks AFB. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Dakota C. LeGrand)

GRAND FORKS AIR FORCE BASE, N.D --

Black History Month concluded at Grand Forks AFB with a celebration event boasting African American history and heritage for all airmen and their families to enjoy Feb. 25, 2021.

The event housed more than 100 documents, art pieces and photos dated as far back as 1931, all loaned to the base from a Multicultural Committee member’s personal collection in order highlight African American contributions, innovation and achievements throughout history.

“It was put into my soul to do this so everyone can learn about the history of African Americans and their contributions to the world,” said Master Sgt. Quanda Jackson, 319 Logistics Readiness Squadron customer support section chief and MC president. “Learning one of our committee members, Sonia Brumskill, owned so many historical artifacts—I knew this was something that had to be shared.”

Military installations across the world participated in Black History Month to reflect on African Americans’ influence and innovation in arts, science, entertainment, law, politics and more. Thanks to the efforts of the African American Cultural Association and the Multicultural Committee, Grand Forks AFB was able to provide rich history to its airmen in a way they could appreciate in person.

Among those who attended were Master Sgt. Hersey Pulley, 319th Civil Engineer Squadron heavy repair superintendent. Hersey expressed the importance of educating airmen on African American history to end racial disparity. 

“There are many little-known facts regarding black history,” said Pulley. “When successful events like these are held, cultural competency regarding the black community grows greatly. As this level of competence is cultivated, our Air Force family is better suited to combat negative stigmas and biases that can easily be associated with the black community.”

This cultural competency is vital for the improvement of Air Force culture, a key priority for senior leaders. The Black History Month celebration at Grand Forks AFB wasn’t just a celebration, but airmen joining together to tackle a larger cultural issue. It allowed airmen to engage in discussion, learn from one another and promote a culture of acceptance, awareness and inspiration for all. The celebration event aligned with Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force JoAnne S. Bass’ key focus areas of people, readiness and culture.

Bass continuously emphasizes that the change in culture the Air Force needs will not come from a policy, program or email—a point Jackson echoed during the celebration.

“It’s more than just a day, week or month,” said Jackson. “It’s continuous learning, continuous empowerment, and continuous awareness for everybody, not just African Americans. It’s everyone’s responsibility to learn.”

The Air Force’s recent emphasis on improving culture is demonstrated through efforts to end racial disparity and promote an environment of equal discipline and development of all airmen. This process begins with airmen understanding and acknowledging African American history.