Black history: Military tradition continues

  • Published
  • By Master Sgt. Kevin McWashington
  • 301st Aerospace Medicine Squadron
Teacher, historian and author Carter G. Woodson proposed a time to celebrate nationwide Negro History Week in 1915.

His proposal later became Black History Month, celebrated every February.

One purpose of Black History Month is to recognize past events that affect us today. Some events receive great attention. Others are more subtle, receiving little fanfare, yet they are just as important in shaping and molding America.

War Department General Order No. 143 is one of those less-remembered but important events. Issued May 22, 1863, the order established the Bureau of Colored Troops.

In his article, First to Fight, author John Raymond Gourdin wrote, "Prior to the establishment of the Bureau, colored regiments were organized and supported by state governments in free states and in areas in Confederate states occupied and controlled by Federal troops. However, after the establishment of the Bureau, those regiments that were previously raised by state governments and carried state designations were redesignated as regiments of United States Colored Troops and assigned a USCT number."

Although no longer considered colored, many Americans of African descent continue to agree with the fundamentals and principles established by General Order 143. Accepting the opportunity to serve, defending the borders and upholding the integrity of law permeate through those who continue the tradition of military service today.

(Courtesy of Air Force Reserve Command News Service)

Comment on this story (comments may be published on Air Force Link)

Click here to view the comments/letters page