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News | Feb. 28, 2018

Distribution’s Multicultural Committee celebrates Black History Month

By Brianne M. Bender DLA Distribution Public Affairs

DLA Distribution’s Multicultural Committee celebrated the culture, traditions and history of African Americans with a program held on Thursday, February 22. This year’s theme is “African Americans in Times of War.”

The program opened with the Lincoln University Choir performing the National Anthem, followed by an invocation by Marlon Carter, supply management specialist with Distribution Headquarters.

DLA Distribution commanding general, Army Brig. Gen. John S. Laskodi welcomed everyone in attendance and thanked the choir for traveling from Philadelphia to be a part of the event. “It is inspiring to me to spend time with our younger generation.” He then introduced the keynote speaker, Gloria E. Martin-Roberts.

Martin-Roberts, a Lincoln University alum, expressed her pride to be in the presence of the Lincoln University Choir. She then proceeded to give a brief history of the first degree granting historically black university in the country. In 1866 the university, formerly called Ashmun Institute, was renamed Lincoln University after the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln the previous year.

The focus of Martin-Roberts’ talk was on the many black leaders throughout time who went unrecognized, who’s struggles were just as difficult as all of the well-known civil rights leaders. One such person is Septima Poinsette Clark, whom she referred to as the “grandmother of the American civil rights movement.” Clark's position in the Civil Rights Movement was one that claimed "knowledge could empower marginalized groups in ways that formal legal equality couldn't.”

Clark was awarded a Living Legacy Award in 1979 by President Jimmy Carter.

“I want to challenge you, to seek information on the many women and men of color who have made a difference in our lives,” said Martin-Roberts.

Additionally, Martin-Roberts explained that it is wonderful to take the time and celebrate such holidays as Black History Month, but said it is important to embrace inclusion. “Remember your brothers and sisters that do not look like you. Embrace them.”

“We are more alike than we think,” explained Martin-Roberts. “Always remember, you are not responsible for the complexion of your skin, but you are for the content on your heart.”