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AfriGeneas Military Research Forum Archive

A Template for Teaching Military History
In Response To: Re: Harlem Hellfighters ()

Hello and thank you for your remarks!

You wrote:

"Mr. Dorty,

I agree with you that it is heartbreaking to see so many of us unconcerned with the history of our forebears. It drives me nuts to see people glorifying entertainers and sports figures as the best we have to offer; claiming descendancy from the kings and queens of Egypt instead of being proud of the survivors who pushed us, whole and strong, capable of any achievement, into the 21st century."

We at are privileged to have Bennie McRae as its Forum Manager for African-American military history. Although he hates to stand up and take a bow as the creator of the foremost website on black military history, I ignore his reluctance and try to promote his body of work as often as I can.

Lest We Forget is visited by a legion of military historians from all over the world. You'll find no speculations about military history but meticulously researched information.

I am sharing the URL below which I've called "A Template for Teaching Military History." Bennie's collaboration with student from Washington Senior High School says it all.

"...but I know, when you give people the opportunity to see real Black History they grab it and ask for more. " How true.

Earlier this year I found a quiet corner in the children's section at Barnes & Noble to read passages from "Black Jacks". I looked up and saw 3 obviously middle class black young teenagers. What followed distressed me. The once quiet corner was filled with curse words and many references to women as b's. As I looked up at the boys to give them a stern look, I noticed that one had a copy of the Malcolm X. My disapproving glance had no effect, so instead I smiled and tried to engage them in conversation. I asked them what they were doing at B & N and they said they were doing book reports on black history. I showed them "Black Jacks" and gave them a brief summary. In the same voice I said that I was probably the same age as their parents, and that they would never say those things in front of their mothers. Two sheepishly said that they were sorry, but the most "preppy" boy with Malcolm book remained defiant. Malcolm was a revolutionary he proudly told me mimicking a ghetto boy stance. In response, still smiling, I said that if Malcolm were alive today he would have been even more shocked by his language. Malcolm would've encouraged them to read more books on the history of our people. I mentioned Lest We Forget and Afrigeneas as sources for their research. One boy wrote down the address, and the three boys, one still defiant, wandered off toward the Black History section.

Did I get my point across? Perhaps. That encounter always comes to mind in a discussion about our youth and their ignorance of our history. "Warrior" "Revolutionary" "Leader" are definitions attributed to a narrow wedge of history that invariably connects to ghetto and the 60's. My study of African American military history connects these words to the USCT, Civil War Contrabands and the untold numbers of men and women who served our country before and since its inception.

It's up to us collectively and individually to teach our children about our history. Afrigeneas and Lest We Forget are stellar "real time" sources for learning. Thank you again for your comments. Your words of concern about our history have been added to all major search engines on the web. Let's hope that when our youth plugs in "black military history" legions of young people, including "Master Defiant" will read your thoughts.

K Wyer Lane

18 Dec 2002 :: 14 Nov 2008
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