2/5/2014 - ALTUS AIR FORCE BASE, Okla. — “We know through painful experience that freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppressed” -Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
Nathan Covington, 97th Force Support Squadron school liaison officer, has lived by these words since the beginning of his his 22-year career in the Air Force.
This year’s theme for Black History Month is “Civil Rights in America,” in celebration of the 50th anniversary of the 1964 Civil Rights Act. “In most settings today we see Black History month celebrated to highlight the ethnic diversity of the African-American people, which is the prodigiously admirable thing to do,” Covington said. “I believe it is equally important to highlight the enormous sacrifices made as well as showcase the relentless and tireless efforts put forth by generations of hard workers.”
It started out as a week-long celebration in the 1920s, then government designated February as Black History Month in 1976.
“In today’s society, the demands for equality and fairness are hard to overlook when it’s met by the attributes of hard work, persistence and determination,” Covington said. “These are qualities that we must continue to instill in our youth of today to make them well-rounded leaders of tomorrow.”
The Altus AFB African-American Heritage Committee has a couple events planned for the month to help celebrate.
“A Night of Elegance” is scheduled to take place today, Feb. 14 at Club Altus.
“It is a night full of food, music and fun that you don’t want to miss,” Covington said. The Annual Soul Food Sampler is scheduled to take place Feb. 28 at the Freedom Community Center from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
“All events are open to all base personnel and we’d like to have everyone come out and participate in this year’s events,” Covington said. “We as a people of all races should take the opportunity to share with our children and future leaders that the complex sociological society that once was, made it extremely difficult for African-Americans to live and advance themselves,” Covington said. “But by hard work, persistence and a determined mind to achieve, they succeeded.”