FORT LEE, Va. (Feb. 13, 2014) -- A creative Black History Month display in the Whiskey Company, 266th Quartermaster Battalion barracks here is showcasing the talents of 19 advanced individual training students while raising awareness of America’s historic civil rights movement.
The display is the result of a challenge by company leaders to create artwork in recognition of February’s BHM observance and its 2014 theme, “Civil Rights in America.” The participating students produced 10 drawings that depict characters like Martin Luther King Jr., Malcolm X, President Barack Obama and other well-known figures.
The piece contributed by Pvt. Brenda J. Sams shows a silhouette of young Rosa Parks with the words “I had no idea history was being made, I was just tired of giving up.” A drawing by Pvt. Cristian J. Contreras bears the title “Freedom” and the Malcom X quote, “Nobody can give you freedom. Nobody can give you equality or justice or anything. If you’re a man, you take it.”
“I’m proud of the contributions by these great warriors,” said 1st Sgt. Shelby L. Reed, Whiskey Company’s lead NCO. “It’s good to give these Soldiers something to do to showcase the talents they have outside of their military training and skills, as well as recognize such an important part of our country’s history.”
Capt. Adam D. Stear, company commander, noted that the display is prominently located in a hallway near the entrance of his building and students see it every day. It is a source of pride for those who participated in the project, and raises awareness among other passersby who stop to take a look at the drawings.
Shortly after the display was created, one Whiskey Warrior – Pvt. Ian Seals – shared his views on what Black History Month and the civil rights movement means to him. “It represents hard work and people putting their lives on the line so we can have a better future,” he said. “And it’s not just one race or group of people; ‘we’ refers to Soldiers and civilians as well. The sacrifices we remember during Black History Month are important. We should continue to strive for similar goals every day.”
Other Black History Month activities at Fort Lee include a special observance at the Lee Theater on Feb. 28, 11:30 a.m. It will feature live music, dance, poetry and Dr. Zoe Spencer, associate professor of sociology at Virginia State University, as the guest speaker. That event is being sponsored by the 23rd QM Brigade and the Fort Lee Equal Opportunity Office.