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Black History Month: African Americans In Times of War

The LA Unified School District has established an official theme for 2018’s Black History Month

By Tommy Chan

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Black history is American history.

From government officials to military generals to president of the United States, the African-American community has become a vital aspect of the planning, maintenance and execution of our country’s ideals.

According to recorded historical texts and evidence, African-Americans have fought in every war that the U.S. has been involved in since the colonial period.

Blacks have served our country at a rate higher than any other ethnic group of the U.S. population after the desegregation in the military with President Truman’s Executive Order 9981 made in 1948.

Today, nearly 20 percent of active military is black, while they make up 13 percent of the nation’s population.

“We helped to build this nation,” said Dr. George J. McKenna III, a sponsor of the resolution and the only African American member on the LAUSD School Board. “We are an integral part of the fabric of this county. The study of our role in the history of the United States leads to broader respect and perspective.”

February is dedicated to honoring the achievements and recognizing the contributions African-Americans have made to the history of the United States.

The Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) has decided to acknowledge important but forgotten black figures by celebrating this year’s Black History Month by specifically honoring African-Americans in times of war.

Take Crispus Attucks for example. Few know the name of the former slave who was killed in the Boston Massacre. But even fewer know that Attucks was the first American to be killed in the American Revolution.

It directs the superintendent to work with educators, librarians, all the schools of the District, and the community to recognize and celebrate this month with appropriate programs, ceremonies, and activities that generate in-depth discussion of the complex factual history of the United States and legacy of Black Americans.”

— McKenna

The LAUSD school board unanimously voted for the theme African Americans in Times of War in hopes of bringing to light the many contributions the African American community have made towards our country’s history.

“Students in L.A. Unified learn about the history and achievements of African-Americans throughout the school year,” stated Interim Superintendent Vivian Ekchian.

“Recognizing Black History Month provides additional opportunities to focus on a part of American history that, too often in years past, was ignored.”

As one of the most culturally diverse school districts in the nation, LAUSD has in its care approximately 60,000 African-American students. The celebration of Black History Month is an event set with the mission of motivating them to reach for their best and achieve great things; continuing the line of their predecessors.

“During this tumultuous time in our country—in which the contributions of certain groups are being ignored, misinterpreted, and dismissed—it is more important than ever that we remember and celebrate the contributions of the African-American community,” said School Board Vice President Nick Melvoin, a co-sponsor of the resolution.

About the Writer
Tommy Chan, News Editor

Tommy Chan is a Senior who joined the Van Nuys High School journalism program in his junior year. He began as a news writer and worked his way up to the...

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Black History Month: African Americans In Times of War