PORT RICHEY — On Saturday, right after the February meeting of the African American Club of Pasco, the club will stage the first of seven public events during Black History Month.
“A Salute to Our Veterans” begins at 1:15 p.m. at the former Booker T. Washington School, 6105 Pine Hill Road in Port Richey. This is the first time the club will have a month-long schedule of activities for Black History Month, which has been designated each February since 1976.
Black History Month grew out of “Negro History Week,” started in 1926 by historian Carter G. Woodson and the Rev. Jesse E. Moorland, who founded the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History, an organization that researched and promoted achievements by black Americans and other people of African descent.
Other countries around the world, including Canada and the United Kingdom, also devote a month to celebrating black history.
The keynote speaker at the club’s veterans event will be Lt. Col. Derrick Baxter of MacDill’s Central Command and Chester McKay of VFW Post 7987 will lead the presentation of colors and “Pledge of Allegiance” under the command of Capt. Dennis “Indian” Schweitzerr.
The Gulf High Junior ROTC Naval Cadets will present a brief biography of AAC member’s military service and a photo of each member in uniform. Officers and members of American Legion Paradise Post 79, the Marine Corps League, and Chester McKay VFW Post will participate.
The Rev. Nathaniel Sims of the St. Paul’s Missionary Baptist Church in Dade City, who also is president of the Pasco Chapter of the NAACP, will perform the religious ceremony.
Among the individuals to be honored are:
♦ Maj. Al Cave, U.S. Army, who joined the segregated military in 1947, serving in several places including Vietnam.
♦ Gunnery Sgt. Horace Lazier, who served in the 9th Marines and was wounded in Vietnam.
♦ Capt. Dan Callaghan, who helped form the 9th Marine Amphibious Brigade with units in Okinawa, Japan, the Philippines and Vietnam and also served as an A-Team Commander in the Army National Guard’s 19th Special Forces Group (Airborne).
Others honored will be club President Darryll Stevenson, who served in the first Gulf War, and PFC Terry Kline, who served in the 26th Marines in Vietnam, fighting against North Vietnamese troops.
“The significant contribution of African Americans in all our conflicts, from Crispus Attucks to Gen. Colin Powell, despite a lack of freedom in the homeland for most of that history is a tribute to their strength, their patriotism, and their hope in a better future,” the African American Club says in a news release.
Other events throughout the month include a film series at the New Port Richey Public Library, a book club discussion of Marvin Dunn’s “The Beast in Florida: a History of Anti-Black Violence,” presentations at the West Pasco Historical Society on the Civil Rights movement and a scholarship dinner Feb. 22.
For more information or a full schedule of events, contact club President Darryll Stevenson Sr. at (727) 495-3206, or the club’s corresponding secretary, Dan Callaghan, at (727) 372-1742.