Museum Honors Local Veterans During Black History Month | Events
The following is a press release from the African American Military History Museum:
On Jan. 31, more than 75 guests attended a special Black History Month Program at the African American Military History Museum that honored living African American Gulf War-era veterans. Sponsored by Community Bank of Hattiesburg and presented by the African American Military History Museum Committee, the program paid special tribute to twenty living African American soldiers from the Gulf War era.
Members of the African American Military History Museum Committee led the program and Dr. Eddie Holloway, Dean of Students at the University of Southern Mississippi, spoke of his appreciation for the service and sacrifice of the honorees.
“Significant African Americans in history have played an integral part of the survival of the United States,” said Dr. Holloway as he began to name several key figures in the history of African Americans in the United States military. “Today, we rest on the shoulders of those men and women, we experience their dreams, and we pause to honor their sacrifice.”
Throughout the month of February, the Museum will host a temporary exhibit highlighting the Gulf War conflict with focus on the evolution of technology through war history.
“This year’s Black History Month exhibit chronicles the use and evolution of technology from the end of the Vietnam War to the present day War on Terrorism with an emphasis on heavy machinery, media technology and other technological advances during the Gulf War,” said Latoya Norman, Museum Manager. “Several of the items in our permanent and temporary Gulf War displays are donated by living Gulf War veterans who were honored during today’s ceremony. Sergeant First Class Ronald Pressley has photos, documents and other items on display throughout the Museum, and Staff Sergeant Willie Bean has loaned us his military uniform from the Gulf War.”
“In addition to this display, we are also excited to offer special programming throughout the month of February to commemorate Black History Month. Every Saturday at 11am, the public is invited to hear special presentations on the Gulf War by local veterans and community leaders. “
Below is an updated schedule of the presentations scheduled at the African American Military History Museum throughout the month:
· Feb. 9 at 11 a.m. – The Museum will present Colin Powell: A Soldier’s Campaign, a documentary on the life and service of African American Gulf War figure and former Secretary of State, Colin Powell.
· Feb. 16 at 11 a.m. – SFC Ronald Pressley will speak on his military experience during the Gulf War and discuss some of his personal items that have been donated to the Museum’s Gulf War exhibits. He has received several medals during his service, including a Bronze Star for his service in Desert Shield and Desert Storm.
· Feb. 23 at 11 a.m. – SFC Jimmie Drummond will speak on his military experience during the Gulf War-era. SFC Drummond served 10 years of active duty in the U.S. Air Force and 19 years in the Army Reserve. Throughout his military career, he received The Presidential Unit Citation, the Air Force Longevity Service Award, the Army Good Conduct Medal, the Air Force Good Conduct Medal and other military medals and accolades.
For more information on the Black History Month Program or the Museum’s Black History Month events, contact the Museum at 601.450.1942.
The USO Club opened on March 22, 1942 and was constructed by community volunteers who invested more than 40,000 hours in the project. It is currently the only surviving USO built exclusively for African American soldiers and in 2003 was placed on the National Register of Historic Places. More than 150 years of African American military history is on display in the Museum.
The African American Military History Museum is a Hattiesburg Convention Commission Facility. Since 1991, the Hattiesburg Convention Commission has been developing, operating and promoting tourism-related facilities for the Hattiesburg area. For more information, visit www.HattiesburgUSO.com.