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Laughlin celebrates African American Heritage Month

African American Heritage month was first proposed by black educators at Kent State University on February 1969 and is celebrated across the country annually in the month of February. This month, Laughlin’s African American Heritage Council aims to expose Laughlin and Del Rio to this culture’s rich history. (U.S. Air Force Graphic/1st Lt. Mahalia Frost)

African American Heritage month was first proposed by black educators at Kent State University on February 1969 and is celebrated across the country annually in the month of February. This month, Laughlin’s African American Heritage Council aims to expose Laughlin and Del Rio to this culture’s rich history. (U.S. Air Force Graphic/1st Lt. Mahalia Frost)

Retired Maj. Gen. Alfred K. Flowers speaks at Laughlin Air Force Base, Feb. 28, 2018. Flowers’ speech on leadership will be the final event in this year’s African American Heritage Month celebration. Flowers, having served 47 years, is the longest serving Airman. (U.S. Air Force Graphic/1st. Lt. Mahalia Frost)

Retired Maj. Gen. Alfred K. Flowers speaks at Laughlin Air Force Base, Feb. 28, 2018. Flowers’ speech on leadership will be the final event in this year’s African American Heritage Month celebration. Flowers, having served 47 years, is the longest serving Airman. (U.S. Air Force Graphic/1st. Lt. Mahalia Frost)

LAUGHLIN AIR FORCE BASE, Texas --

Laughlin’s African American Heritage Month has been a great success, according to event organizers.

African American Heritage Month, formerly known as “Negro History Week,” and later expanded in the 1960s following the success of the civil rights movement, is an annual celebration of African American achievements and impact in U.S. History.

In support of this year’s theme titled, “African Americans in Times of War,” the African American Heritage Council put together events to educate people on the cultural heritage left on the Air Force.

Although the month is half-way over, the AAHC has several more events planned.

“Even though we've had a really good turn out so far, our monthly celebrations are not over,” said 1st Lt. Mahalia Frost, co-chair of the AAHC. “We're looking forward to seeing more of Laughlin at our movie night, where we're showing Red Tails; paint night at Blue Oasis; and closeout event, featuring the longest serving Airman in Air Force history, Maj. Gen. Alfred Flowers.”

Some of the events took place earlier this month are: the Bowl-a-thon kick-off event, candy grams, Child Development Center (CDC) and Youth Center book reading, Single Laughlin Airmen Meal: Taste of Soul, and the 5K run: African Americans in Times of War.

“The council has been very pleased with the participation that we've received for our events, whether the single Airmen filled their plates with some traditional soul food for SLAM or base personnel enjoyed a competitive bowling match to kick off our monthly celebration,” Frost said.

The AAHC aims to expose Laughlin and Del Rio to a different culture and to provide education outreach to people on cultural diversity.

“Letting people know the Air Force has a rich history, and that rich history is the contributions that so many African Americans have made to the Air Force,” said Capt. Tiffany Sykes, AAHC chairman. “This culture and this month is something that should be celebrated because there is a lot that has been done by African Americans that sometimes don’t get noticed.”

Frost emphasized everyone who has attended the events has experienced a good time fellowshipping with the council members, but most importantly gained further knowledge about African Americans’ influence in shaping the Air Force.

“Initially, when we began planning these events, our original goal was to find creative and educational ways to celebrate our history, and so far we're doing just that,” Frost said.

Since the proposition by black educators at Kent State University, February 1969, and the U.S. government’s official recognition in 1976, communities have joined together to uphold former President Gerald Ford’s charge to “seize the opportunity to honor the too-often neglected accomplishments of black Americans in every area of endeavor throughout our history.”

For more information on AAHM events, call Sykes at 298-5172 or Frost at 298-5262.