Harry S. Truman Hosts Black History Month Ceremony


Story Number: NNS110214-06Release Date: 2/14/2011 1:21:00 PM
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By Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class David R. Finley Jr., USS Harry S. Truman Public Affairs

ATLANTIC OCEAN (NNS) -- The USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75) Heritage Cultural Committee (HCC), hosted a ceremony celebrating African- American History Month, Feb. 10.

The event recognized famous African-Americans and their contributions in the fields of civil rights, sports, music, medicine, and military.

"It was truly a fantastic ceremony put on by the Heritage Cultural Committee," said Capt. Joseph Clarkson, Truman commanding officer. "To reflect on all the heroes who came before us is what African-American History Month is all about."

The festivities kicked off in standard Truman fashion with a cake-cutting ceremony in honor of African-American History Month.

"The cake-cutting ceremony was wonderful," said Airman Jerrell Cunningham. "It brought the whole crew together. The color of your skin doesn't matter, and that is the main thing I hope people take away from the event."

The program also featured a dedication to Master Chief Petty Officer Carl Brashear, the first African-American U.S. Navy master diver.

Brashear enlisted in the Navy Feb. 25, 1948, shortly after the Navy had been desegregated by President Truman. He was the first African-American to attend and graduate from the U.S. Navy Diving-and-Salvage School in 1954.

"Master Chief Brashear helped pave the way not only for me, but for many African-Americans in the Navy," said Truman's Command Master Chief (AW/SW) Loran Bather.

The Truman Praise and Worship team did their part with a live performance for the crew. The show also featured a few covers of music icons to include the likes of the Jackson Five, and Diana Ross and the Supremes.

"It is always good to reflect on your heroes," said Bather. "It is just another way to show how black history works. It also is a great way to show how diversity works."

The HCC hosts events like African-American History Month program to continue its mission to help broaden Sailors' awareness of diversity on board Truman and further educate the crew.

"Black History Month means a lot to me," said Cunningham. "It is a time to reflect on everything that has happened in the African-American culture. This is our chance to not only look at where we have been to this point, but also a chance to look toward our future."

"To make a change, you have to start with yourself," said Clarkson. "Although we have come a long way, things can always be better. We should always be striving to be better people."

Black History Month was originally established in 1926 as "Negro History Week", by Dr. Carter G. Woodson. Woodson was also the founder of the Association for the Study of African-Americans Life and History.

"The sky is the limit," said Bather. "This event highlighted some of the historical accomplishments and I want Sailors to realize there is always more to achieve."

For more news from USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75), visit www.navy.mil/local/cvn75/.

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The aircraft carrier USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75) returns to Naval Station Norfolk after a seven-month deployment.
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