WASHINGTON, Feb. 1, 2013 – African-Americans have made and continue to make major contributions to the nation’s defense, the director of the Defense Department’s office of diversity management and equal opportunity said in a recent interview.
As National African-American History Month commences today, this year’s theme -- “At the Crossroads of Freedom and Equality: The Emancipation Proclamation and the March on Washington” -- is important for two reasons, Clarence A. Johnson told the Pentagon Channel and American Forces Press Service.
“The Emancipation Proclamation is 150 years old, and the March on Washington is 50 years old,” he said. “The Emancipation Proclamation freed the slaves, but it also enhanced America’s freedom.”
Because 1963’s March on Washington precipitated the Civil Rights Act, DOD components worldwide will celebrate with those events in mind because of their contributions to diversity and freedom, Johnson said.
National African-American History Month gives people an opportunity to recognize African-Americans who have contributed to the nation’s defense, and that recognition is important, he said.
“It gives us the time to appreciate the strides we’ve made,” he added. “I think we pride ourselves in … [making] sure all our individuals are treated with equality, dignity and respect.”
As the military services observe National African-American History Month, Johnson said, there are two things to keep in mind: service and commitment. Greatness is achieved by serving others, he said, while commitment to diversity is critical to the nation and to DOD. African-Americans have long since left their mark on defending the nation since the Revolutionary War, he added. read more>>>