Members of the 82nd Airborne Division’s 18th Field Artillery Brigade helped celebrate African-American History Month through song, Feb. 8, at the Pope Family Readiness Group Center.
“For too long, the most basic liberties were denied to African Americans. And today, we pay musical tribute to the countless good-hearted citizens who provided hope and inspiration along the Underground Railroad, aboard a bus in Alabama and all those across the country who rose up and sat in to help right the wrongs of our past and extend the promise of America to all people,” said Command Sgt. Maj. William. A. Phelps, 18th FA Bde., XVIII Airborne Corps.
The event was organized by Staff Sgt. Shakira Jackson, 188th Brigade Support Battalion,18th FA Bde, XVIII Abn. Corps. She also made the song selection, choosing those who have spoken to her in the past.
“I enjoy listening to music, and I thought it would be great idea to have some of the songs that elaborate on what happened throughout the civil rights movement and during the Underground Railroad, and I thought people would appreciate it,” she said.
The first song, “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” is the African-American national anthem and another song choice, “Follow the Drinking Gourd,” came from the Underground Railroad. The final song choice, “A Change is Gonna Come,” originated during the civil rights movement.
“I get goosebumps every time I hear that song,” Jackson said.
The songs were sung by five Soldier volunteers who met Jackson through a friend of a friend. The singers were given certificates of appreciation after the event.
The event culminated with a selection of cultural foods being offered for lunch. The celebration was a part of a series of African-American history celebrations that have taken place across Fort Bragg in February.