NEWS | Feb. 1, 2022

Black History Month Message to the Force

By Maj. Gen. Bill Crane

February 1, 2022

In the West Virginia National Guard, we recognize the significant contributions of Black Americans throughout our nation’s history – those who have served in every conflict since the American Revolution. We also pay homage to the Black Soldiers, Airmen and One Guard civilians who have paved the way for a more inclusive and diverse organization that truly represents the state and nation in which we serve.

Black History Month, celebrated each February, also serves as a reminder that our brothers and sisters suffered brutal injustices, faced challenges unlike anything we could fathom, and still represented the values of America in all they did. We are reminded of storied Black Americans like the men of the 45th Regiment United States Colored Troops who fought for the Union as the only black Appalachian unit in the Civil War. Capt. Guenette Ferguson, the highest ranking Black World War I veteran from West Virginia and Corporal Freddie Stowers, the only African American Medal of Honor recipient from World War I. The Tuskegee Airmen who fought valiantly in World War II as a bomber squadron, despite facing discrimination in an era of Jim Crow in the U.S.

Despite the progress that has been made in American history, there is still work to be done. During Black History Month, I challenge every member of our One Guard family to listen more, seek understanding, embrace our diversity, and celebrate the service, commitment and sacrifices made by African Americans from our past and present.

“In recognizing the humanity of our fellow beings, we pay ourselves the highest tribute.”  - Thurgood Marshall

WILLIAM E. CRANE
Major General, WVNG
The Adjutant General