Official websites use .mil
Secure .mil websites use HTTPS
Black History Month originated in 1926, when African-American historian Carter G. Woodson initiated the celebration of Negro History Week during the second week in February. The choice of February was made to coincide with the birth month of both Frederick Douglass and President Abraham Lincoln, notable abolitionists and social reformers. The celebration was expanded to a month-long event by President Gerald Ford in 1976. On Feb. 11, 1986, Congress passed Public Law 99-244, which designated each February as "National Black (Afro-American) History Month."
CNIC’s Black History Month celebration is led by the Black Shore Installations Professionals (Black ShIP) Employee Readiness Group (ERG). The mission of the Black ShIP is to create a cultural community and to foster inclusion within the entire CNIC organization. It does so through a three-pronged approach:
Through informative and collaborative events, Black ShIP encourages the inclusion of its members’ ideas in policy decisions and promotes cohesion in the entire organization.
As part of this year’s Black History Month celebration, Black ShIP hosted a “Black History Town Hall,” Feb. 8th, to highlight the achievements of African-Americans in the Navy.
“Black history is American history,” said Capt. Lloyd Mack, the Black ShIP’s senior military champion. “African-Americans have had a significant role in shaping the United States. Black History Month helps us to acknowledge that and teach people about those contributions.”
Black people have fought in every United States war and ninety African Americans have been awarded the Medal of Honor. Yet, throughout most of American history, Black service members were placed in segregated units. Desegregation didn't occur until Jan. 26, 1948, when President Harry S. Truman issued Executive Order 9981 directing the armed services to integrate.
“Black History Month is a time for rejoicing and celebrating,” said Senior Chief Petty Officer Cedric Gaines, the Black ShIP’s military chairperson. “We think of those African Americans in a great movement who gave us hope and life lessons we are still using today.”
Today, Navy’s active-duty service members number 346,880; of those, 60,444 are African American, as of February 2022. Still, there is room to grow. Several discussions in the Black ShIP have focused on how to increase diversity among the highest levels of leadership.
“There has to be some type of advocacy,” said Mack. “It’s about paying attention to those who have that potential, growing that potential, and cultivating that to the next level. You have to invest in the talent you have.”
The Black ShIP is open to anyone that’s interested in a diverse work force, including those who are not African-American. Lt. Cmdr. Kyle Schlais, an ally, participates in the group regularly.
“I joined the Black ShIP ERG primarily in the interest of educating myself on the Black experience,” he explained. “In order to empathize with struggles others face due to racism in our society, and to be able to affect change, I must first understand perspectives other than my own.”
Future events of the Black ShIP include a seminar on the “Seven Deadly Diseases to which Black Americans are Prone,” a celebration of Women’s History month, and a professional networking luncheon.
Coleen R. San Nicolas-Perez
Deputy Director, Public Affairs
Commander, Navy Installations Command
Subject specific information for the media
Events or announcements of note for the media
Official Navy statements
Given by Navy leadership
HASC, SASC and Congressional testimony
Google Translation Disclaimer