FORT LEE, Va. (Feb. 2, 2012) -- African-American women have played a vital role in the history of our nation and our Army since the American Revolution. Their patriotism, loyalty and leadership, coupled with their hard work, intellect and artistic expression, have enriched the African-American community and the nation as a whole. In slavery and in freedom, their struggles have been at the heart of the human experience, and their fight against racism and sexism serve as a testament to their perseverance to overcome adversity.

From Harriet Tubman, a leader and conductor of the Underground Railroad, to Rosa Parks, the mother of the modern Civil Rights Movement, to First Lady Michelle Obama, these courageous women serve as role models for all to emulate. The Army has also benefitted from the leadership, intelligence and contributions of the African-American women in our ranks. Today we celebrate the recent promotion of Maj. Gen. Marcia Anderson, the Army's first African-American female two-star general and recognize Tracey Pinson, the Army's highest ranking female African-American senior executive service member. These women, and so many others, are expressions of a brilliant culture in which African -American women play a critical role in the strength of this nation and our Army.

We are grateful for the sacrifices and contributions African-American Women, Soldiers, Civilians and Families have played in our success. We encourage the entire Army Family to honor publicly their contributions by encouraging all leaders from across the Army to plan and execute appropriate commemorative activities to celebrate African American/Black History Month.