Fort Gordon’s 706th Military Intelligence Group hosted a celebration Thursday in honor of Black History Month featuring local performers, a historian with expertise in African-American History throughout the Augusta region, and recognition of a local eighth grader as winner of an annual essay contest.
The 2017 theme was overcoming the crisis in Black education. Deanna Brown-Thomas opened the event with an introduction of entertainment by the James Brown Academy of Musik Pupils, or J.A.M.P. She said music and fine arts education is important in shaping the minds of children, something her academy prides itself on.
The band began to play music by her father, James Brown, and Sharon Jones, both influential Black musicians from the local area. Dressed in patriotic costumes, the young entertainers drew raucous applause with songs like Brown’s “I Feel Good,” and Jones’ rendition of “This Land is Your Land.”
Col. Thomas E. Toler, commander of the 706th, then introduced the featured speaker Corey Rogers and highlighted the importance of this year’s Black History Month theme.
“The crisis in our education system is not an African American issue; it’s not an ethnic issue. It is something we have to solve together,” Toler said.
Rogers is an Augusta native and is currently the Staff Historian at the Lucy Craft Laney Museum of Black History. He has also been an educator in the Richmond County school system and at Paine College. Rogers focused on Laney’s education and service to educate children whose parents had been slaves.
Rogers called Black History Month, and its predecessor, Black History Week, important to help not only African Americans learn about cultural history but also to educate the larger American society.
Rogers said part of what they do at the museum is to welcome and educate children. He said many times schools don’t have enough funding to bring students to the museum, so they will take the information to the kids.
The celebration closed with the presentation of a certificate to a Freedom Park Middle School student. Jordyn Tremallo was recognized for winning an essay contest about African American contributions to education. Her essay focused on former First Lady Michelle Obama.
All speakers told the crowd that the crisis won’t be solved without their actions. To solve the crisis in Black Education, Brown and Rogers called on everyone to get involved through donations or by volunteering at community schools. They said the future success of our community and the entire region depends upon quality education.
Reach Thomas Gardiner at (706)823-3339 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.