Monday, January 22, 2018

2018 Black History Month Theme - African Americans in Times of War


C:\Users\Elmetra\Documents\My Scans\2008-12 (Dec)\Papa bust.jpg
William James Eichelberger – World War I soldier

The Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH), the founders of Black History Month, continues to view February as the critical month for carrying forth its mission. Over the years, the themes reflect changes in how people of African descent in the United States have viewed themselves, the influence of social movements on racial ideologies, and the aspirations of the black community. The 103rd Annual Conference met in Indianapolis September 27 - October 1, 2017 to receive papers from writers and researchers on the theme for 2018 which is AFRICAN AMERICANS IN TIMES OF WAR. The theme commemorates the end of the First World War in 1918 – 100 years ago.

Since this writer returned home to Louisville, MS after living away for 42 years, the Winston County Library has allowed me to curate an exhibit during Black History Month with a reception the last Saturday of February each year. The exhibits are focused on the theme of the year as selected by ASALH. This year's theme is dear to my heart as my father, five of my eight brothers and many of my nephews and nieces served in the military. Brother Fred Eichelberger loss his life in an army jeep accident near Bakersfield, CA while serving his country. My father, William James Eichelberger was drafted into that Great World War over 100 years ago and served in France. He passed when I was 13 years old at a time when I was too young to ask much about his experiences in the war and therefore, I have learned from ASALH and by studying the book by Emmett J. Scott, The American Negro in the World War. This has given me some idea of what it was like for him as an African American soldier before, after and during the Great War.

This is a request from the public to contact me, 510.672-2106 or librarian Beth Edwards at the Winston County Library, 662.773-3212 to let us know if you have any photos of African American veterans or any information about them from any of the wars. Also, any photos of any African American women who worked to help with the wars. We would like to use copies of them in the Black History Month exhibit.

Submitted by: Elmetra Patterson