By Charles Blatcher III
The National Minority Military Museum Foundation is holding a Tribute to Black Veterans Saturday, Feb. 28, 5 p.m., at de Fremery Recreation Center in West Oakland.
The foundation and its coalition of Black Veteran Organizations founded and headquartered in Oakland, was organized to redress the historical omissions of facts as it relates to the contributions and deeds of men and women of color in the defense of this nation.
Our focus has been to raise public awareness about the history nationwide.
We appreciate the City of Oakland acknowledging our cause by honoring Black Veterans. I will speak briefly about the importance of the history and our efforts to gain an honorary Presidential promotion for the legendary Buffalo Soldier Colonel Charles Young. In addition, we will provide an overview on the effort to restore the birth cabin of the legendary Colonel in Kentucky.
The de Fremery Center has done an outstanding job in planning for the upcoming tribute, honoring the foundation’s 37th anniversary. de Fremery Center served as a USO Facility for Black Military Personnel during the 1940s.
Congresswoman Barbara Lee, Mayor Libby Schaaf and members of the Oakland City Council are scheduled to be in attendance. Videographer Diane Williamson will provide a preview of a documentary being filmed to capture the stories of local Black veterans.
The Coalition of Black Veteran Organizations is asking Gov. Edmund Brown, Jr., to attend and grant Colonel Charles Young recognition for the merits of his historic contributions to California while serving as the first Black superintendent of Sequoia and Yosemite National Parks in 1903.
The coalition has also called on Congresswoman Barbara Lee and Senator Barbara Boxer to reintroduce legislation calling for the colonel’s promotion and for SB225, the Buffalo Soldiers Study Act.
The bill would establish the route travelled by the Buffalo Soldiers between the San Francisco Presidio and the National Parks as a federally recognized Historic Trail.
Entertainment for the Oakland event will be provided by the West Coast Blues Society. Admission is free.
de Fremery Recreation Center is located at 1651 Adeline St. in Oakland. For information call (510) 238-7739.
Charles Blatcher III is chair of the National Coalition of Black Veteran Organizations.