Virginia post educates youth about contributions of black servicemembers

American Legion Post 157’s Black History Month contest teaches youth in Madison, Va., about the significant military contributions made by African-American men and women throughout U.S. history. Last year’s contest theme was the World War II Red Tails. This year it’s the article “Fighting for Respect, African-American Soldiers in WWI,” written by Jami Bryan with Army Historical Foundation publication.

Madison County youth in middle school through high school who participate in the February contest will draw a picture or write an essay that interprets what they learned from the article. Elementary students are asked to draw a picture of how they think the Underground Railroad helped save the lives of slaves.

Post 157 member Lisa Davis, who oversees the post’s youth contests for Black History Month, Memorial Day, Constitution Day and Veterans Day, said Legionnaires have to get involved and teach youth, and sometimes even the teachers, about the sacrifices and contributions made by black veterans. “It’s just too important and these kids have no idea,” she said. "Through our contests we want students to have a better understanding that freedom does not come without a price and that they may sometimes take for granted the many liberties they enjoy in America, which have been earned through the sacrifice paid by our armed forces."

The students are recognized for their participation with first-place medals awarded to each grade, along with honorable mention and participation certificates.

The American Legion wants to hear how your post celebrated Black History Month. Share your story on www.legiontown.org.