Tag Archives: Black History Month

FROM KHOBAR TOWERS TO COURTROOM ADVOCACY; VETERAN’S STORY A WORK IN PROGRESS

On the evening of June 25, 1996, Latia Suttle settled in for the night in her quarters in the United States Army’s housing at the Khobar Towers complex in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia. At least she thought she had. “We were there on a peacekeeping mission,” Suttle said. The marble floor suddenly sank beneath her feet. […]

Vietnam War veteran Phillip Willis discusses racial discrimination during Black History Month.

A THIRST FOR EQUALITY: DYING NAVY VETERAN’S STORY RESONATES AS BLACK HISTORY MONTH LESSON

One summer afternoon in the late 1950s, eight-year-old Phillip Willis, Jr. took a break from mowing lawns at a home in Jackson, Mississippi. Having worked up a thirst, Willis asked his employer, a white woman, for a glass of water.   That simple and reasonable request required minimal physical effort on the woman’s part. Mainly, it required mere humanity and compassion for a young Black kid toiling in the stifling heat and humidity. She begrudgingly gave him the water, Willis said, along with a not-so-subtle reminder that he […]

JUNETEENTH CELEBRATIONS GO VIRTUAL FOR 2020

On June 19, 1865 – more than two months after Lee surrendered to Grant at Appomattox – Union General Gordon Granger arrived in Galveston, Texas. Why? To tell 250,000 enslaved people that they were now free. Thus, Juneteenth (combining June and the Nineteenth) became the day each year African Americans across the nation celebrate that […]

BUFFALO SOLDIERS ONCE PROTECTED YOSEMITE AND SEQUOIA NATIONAL PARKS

As Black History Month continues, CalVet recognizes the African American “Buffalo Soldiers” who once protected Yosemite and Sequoia national parks in the central Sierra in the years before the national parks systems was established in 1916. One day many summers ago, Yosemite Park Ranger and Historian Shelton Johnson had just finished his portrayal of a […]

Recognizing the contributions of African American Women Veterans

Women have long answered the call to defend and protect this country, yet many of their contributions have largely been unrecognized and unrewarded. During the national designation of the month of February as Black History Month, the CalVet Women Veterans Division is sending a special message to recognize and elevate the invaluable contributions of black […]