February is Black History Month. Nationwide, American Legion Family members commemorate by hosting or participating in events that honor Black servicemembers and educate the public about the roles they played in military history and today.
The American Legion wants to hear how your Legion Family is celebrating Black History Month, as well as see stories and photos from veterans and their loved ones. You can share on the Legiontown platform under categories ranging from My Time in Uniform to to Memories of Basic Training. These contributions honor the sacrifices of Black servicemembers such as the Buffalo Soldiers, the Harlem Hellfighters and the Tuskegee Airmen, as well as the men and women who honorably serve their nation today.
If you are traveling during February – or any other month – consider making a stop at one of these sites to learn about the long history of Black military experience in the United States.
African American Civil War Memorial & Museum, Washington, D.C. In the historical U Street district of the nation’s capital sits the museum and nearby memorial. On the memorial’s Wall of Honor are inscribed the names of 209,145 U.S. Colored Troops (USCT) soldiers who fought in the war. The museum features artifacts, documents, personal stories and more. Admission is free.
African American Medal of Honor Recipients Memorial, Wilmington, Del. Since its inception, 92 Medals of Honor have been awarded to African American servicemembers or veterans. This granite memorial in Brandywine Park explains the pre-eminence of the award and lists names of recipients, along with life-size bronze figures of Civil War and World War II soldiers.
African American Military History Museum, Hattiesburg, Miss. This museum is located in the former East Sixth Street USO building at Camp Shelby, which later became a Black community center. Holdings include uniforms, flags and more. The museum also provides educational resources in history, arts and STEM. The structure has National Historic Landmark and Mississippi Landmark status. Admission is free, but donations are appreciated.
African American Veterans Monument, Buffalo, N.Y. Dedicated in September 2022, this monument in Buffalo and Erie County Naval & Military Park is described on its website as “the first of its kind to recognize the contributions of Blacks who have served and are currently serving in all six branches of the military, during war and in peace times. Black servicemembers have fought in all 12 of the United States’ military conflicts since the country’s first war, whether they enlisted voluntarily, or were drafted.”
Buffalo Soldiers National Museum, Houston. The Buffalo Soldiers are brought to life in this Midtown museum through the visual and performing arts, exhibitions and educational programming. The museum’s website, buffalosoldiersmuseum.org, links to a database of names, hometowns and occupations.