Black History Month panel focuses on African-Americans in times of war



Photo credit: Sydne Vigille


As Black History Month comes to a close, the students and faculty from FAMU’s health, physical and recreation department have joined together to celebrate through a panel discussion.

This year’s Black History Month panel discussion was themed “African-Americans in Time of War,” which was held from 12:30 p.m. to 3 p.m. in the Al Lawson Jr. Multipurpose Center.   

Panelist included Dr. James Moran Jr. coordinator of advanced placement, alumni affairs and employee FAMU College of Pharmacy. As well as LTC. Reginald Howard, retired lieutenant colonial of the U.S. Army, and reserved and current senior Army instructor at FAMU Developmental Research School.

Panelist were given the opportunity to share their remarks and experiences as African-American men in their military career and how it has shaped their own lives.

Speakers from the departments of FAMU College of Agriculture and Food Sciences, FAMU Department of History and Political Science, ADA-USA, FAMU ROTC and FAMU Office of International Education and Development made their own presentations to contribute to the Black History Month celebration.

Dr. Maria Okeke, health science professor and event coordinator, said she hopes the panel will inspire students to pass on the torch of Black excellence within the military. “If Thomas E. James and the Buffalo Soldiers could do it, why can’t we?”

“This is the 20th year our department has hosted this event and students don’t realize that health has so much to do with Black history, dating all the way back to the Atlantic Slave Trade,” Okeke explained. “As we transitioned into the 20th century Blacks had limited options of medical schools to attend. After their training, most African-American doctors and nurses went to serve as health care professionals with the armed forces. The military has also helped pay for many health care professionals’ bachelor degrees.”

Commander of The Color Guard, Cadet Elijah Kasey, who had the honor of participating in the presentation of colors during the event had a few reflections.

“I hope The African-Americans in Times of War event will bring attention to the fact Blacks can be in the military and serve our country. Being recognized as a campus leader, has made me passionate about this part of African-American history,” Kasey said.

Following the panel discussion, former recording artist Lili. L. “Yricallynn” Forbes preformed a song titled, “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings.” Health and physical education students, Johana Williams and Shaira Fitzpatrick, performed a cultural dance.

Informational posters made by health, physical and recreational education students were made and put on display. These posters provided information on African-American men and women, activist groups and celebrities that have made strides in war and civil rights movements.

LTC. Reginald Howard was honored to share the cultural importance of Blacks in the military.

“You must always be accountable, it is your responsibility to make sure you’re always ready, whether it be in combat, or in life, we as Blacks must also be accountable for the role we play in educating our younger generations so our history will not repeat its selves, we are accountable,” Howard stated.