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LRAFB celebrates Black History Month

Four young ladies look at a brown building with tall white pillars. One young lady is holding a bright blue umbrella.

Jacksonville Lighthouse Charter School: Flightline Upper Academy students, military members and civilians visit Little Rock Central High School Feb. 28, 2018, at Little Rock, Ark. The top three essay winners received the opportunity to tour the school and learn more about the adversity the Little Rock Nine faced. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Kristine M. Gruwell)

Man in the Airman Battle Uniform holds a certificate along with a young lady wearing a blue polo and glasses also holds the certificate.

Col. Christopher Lambert, 19th Airlift Wing vice commander, recognizes Nadia Gaddy, Jacksonville Lighthouse Charter School: Flightline Upper Academy sixth grade student, for winning the Walk Past Hate essay contest Feb. 28, 2018, at Little Rock Air Force Base, Ark. The Walk Past Hate essay competition was based around the book “The Worst First Day—Bullied While Desegregating Central High” by Elizabeth Eckford. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Rhett Isbell)

A young lady smiles at the camera wearing glasses and a blue polo.

Nadia Gaddy, Jacksonville Lighthouse Charter School: Flightline Upper Academy sixth grade student, tours Little Rock Central High School Feb. 28, 2018, at Little Rock, Ark. Nadia and two other students who received awards in the Walk Past Hate essay contest toured the school to learn more about the history of the Little Rock Nine. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Kristine M. Gruwell)

Group of people pose for photo.

Team Little Rock members and Arkansas leaders gathered at the “Developing Leaders in the Community” to answer questions and discuss obstacles they faced in their past Feb. 7, 2018, at Little Rock Air Force Base, Ark. Panel members were chosen because of their accomplishments and prominence in the black community in Little Rock. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Rhett Isbell)

LITTLE ROCK AIR FORCE BASE, Ark. --

As part of the installation's diversity and inclusion group, the 913th Airlift Group hosted numerous activities to celebrate Black History Month throughout the month of February, 2018, at Little Rock Air Force Base, Ark.

The 913th AG arranged three events for Black History Month including a leadership panel, the Walk Past Hate essay competition and a tour to Central High School in Little Rock, Ark.

“These events gave participants the opportunity to learn the history, and see things from an African-American perspective,” said Master Sgt. Earl Thomas, 913th Communication Squadron superintendent.

The leadership panel combined civilian and military leaders of the community including Elizabeth Eckford, a Little Rock Nine member and former Arkansas state senator. The panel focused on developing leaders in the community and what is expected of leaders today.

The essay competition was based on Eckford’s book “The Worst First Day—Bullied While Desegregating Central High”, which emphasizes anti-bullying. Students from Jacksonville Lighthouse Charter School: Flightline Upper Academy competed in the contest, and the winner was Nadia Gaddy, Jacksonville Lighthouse Charter School: Flightline Upper Academy sixth grade student.

A tour of Little Rock Central High School was one of the last events to celebrate Black History Month. The top three contest winners along with civilians and military members from LRAFB attended this tour to learn and experience the history of the Little Rock Nine.

“African-Americans are a part of the Air Force tradition,” Thomas said.  “We can’t speak of air superiority without mentioning the Tuskegee Airmen.  We are a diverse force, and there is great strength in our diversity.  The better we understand our different cultures or ethnic backgrounds, the stronger we become.”