Public invited to Lawton-Fort Sill ceremony proclaiming African-American Heritage Month

Members of the public are invited to the annual ceremony kicking off African-American Heritage Month in the Lawton-Fort Sill community. Cameron University will host the ceremony on Monday, February 1 at 6 p.m. in the CETES Conference Center. Following remarks by guest speaker Dr. Marco Columbus, Associate Professor of Education, Mayor Fred Fitch will sign the official proclamation declaring February 2016 as African-American Heritage Month (also known as Black History Month).

Other dignitaries attending will include Dr. Tom Deighan, Superintendent, Lawton Public Schools; Pastor Willie Guest, President, Lawton-Fort Sill Branch NAACP; Cameron President John McArthur; Maj. Gen. John G. Rossi, Commanding General, U.S. Army Fires Center of Excellence & Fort Sill; and James Smith, President, Lawton-Fort Sill Pan-Hellenic Council.

About African-American Heritage Month

African-American Heritage Month, also known as Black History Month, is a federally recognized, nationwide celebration that provides the opportunity for all Americans to reflect on the significant roles that African-Americans have played in the shaping of U.S. history.  The celebration owes its beginnings to Dr. Carter G. Woodson, a pioneer in the study of African-American history. Disturbed that history textbooks largely ignored America's black population, Woodson took on the challenge of writing black Americans into the nation's history by establishing the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History (now the Association for the Study of African American Life and History) in 1915. In 1926, Woodson developed Negro History Week, choosing the second week of February because it marks the birthdays of two men who greatly influenced the black American population: Frederick Douglass (February 14), an escaped slave who became one of the foremost black abolitionists and civil rights leaders in the nation, and President Abraham Lincoln (February 12), who signed the Emancipation Proclamation, which abolished slavery in America's confederate states. In 1976, Negro History Week expanded into Black History Month. For more information, go to


January 25, 2016