Saluting African Americans in Times of War

By Roy Betts

The Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH) at its 92nd Annual Black History Month Luncheon in Washington, D.C., honored the lives of the many African Americans who have served their country through military service.

The luncheon, which was created by ASALH’s founder Dr. Carter G. Woodson, was attended by more than 1,000 people on Feb. 24. Its 2018 theme was “African Americans in Times of War,” which acknowledged the enormous contributions of Blacks in their country’s history, a cause Woodson promoted through most of his life.

The luncheon included Maj. Jaspen “Jas” Boothe, Army Reserves, who moderated a discussion on the reasons why Blacks join the military. Panelists included retired Lt. Gen. William E. “Kip” Ward, Dr. James Dula, a retired Air Force major, and Cadet Simone Askew, first captain, U.S. Military Academy, West Point.

Members of the Omega Psi Phi Fraternity were honored, as were Dr. Sheila Flemming-Hunter, ASALH Awards chair; Dr. Bettye Collier-Thomas, Temple University professor of history; and Edgar Brookins, general manager of the Afro-American Newspapers. Richard Collins III, the Bowie University student and Army second lieutenant fatally stabbed on the campus of the University of Maryland in an unprovoked hate crime in May, was also remembered.

U.S. Postal Service Deputy Postmaster General Ronald Stroman was joined by ASALH National President Dr. Evelyn Brooks Higginbotham during unveiling of the 41st Black Heritage series commemorative stamp honoring singer and actor Lena Horne, who entertained Black troops during World War II.

To learn more about the luncheon and becoming an ASALH member, please visit

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