USS Boxer Celebrates African-American History Month 
By Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class J. Michael Schwartz, USS Boxer Public Affairs Office  
SAN DIEGO - Sailors from the amphibious assault ship USS Boxer (LHD 4) celebrated African American History Month with a ceremony in the ship's hangar bay Feb. 28.

The ceremony, themed "At the Crossroads of Freedom and Equality," was held so the crew could show their support and celebrate the historical importance of people and events that have shaped America.

Chief Culinary Specialist Nakia Bynum opened the ceremony with historic background and said, "Originally named Negro History Week in 1925, the event was first celebrated in February 1926 around President Lincoln's birthday and has evolved over the years to become a central part in civil rights recognition."

Logistics Specialist 1st Class Kimberley S. Blain-Sweet read the life story of Force Master Chief April Beldo, the first female African American Fleet Master Chief in the Navy. Beldo is slated to become the Manpower, Personnel, Training & Education (MPT&E) Fleet Master Chief in March.

Blain-Sweet added, "It is refreshing to have that senior leadership to look up to and to see their accomplishments."

The event included songs, skits and speeches about African American History. The ceremony concluded with a cake cutting ceremony.

In 1976 during the America's bicentennial, Negro History Week was expanded to African American History Month and was recognized by the U.S. government.
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