African American History Month Published Feb. 1, 2013 By Tech. Sgt. Sherryl Linkous, Diversity Commitee President 169th Medical Group MCENTIRE JOINT NATIONAL GUARD BASE, South Carolina -- During National African American History Month, we pay tribute to the contributions of past generations and reaffirm our commitment to keeping the American dream alive for the next generation. The great abolitionist and orator Frederick Douglass once told us, "If there is no struggle, there is no progress." Progress in America has not come easily, but has resulted from the collective efforts of generations. For centuries, African American men and women have persevered to enrich our national life and bend the arc of history toward justice. From resolute Revolutionary War soldiers fighting for liberty to the hardworking students of today reaching for horizons their ancestors could only have imagined. In the Emancipation Proclamation, President Abraham Lincoln not only extended freedom to those still enslaved within rebellious areas, he also opened the door for African Americans to join the Union effort. Tens of thousands of African Americans enlisted in the United States Army and Navy, making extraordinary sacrifices to help unite a fractured country and free millions from slavery. The story of African Americans is a story of resilience and perseverance. During National African American History Month, we celebrate the rich legacy of African Americans and honor the remarkable contributions they have made to perfect our Union. This past weekend, the South Carolina Air National Guard was privileged and honored to witness one of our very own, Col. Calvin H. Elam, promoted to Brigadier General. General Elam is the first African American General in the South Carolina Air National Guard. General Elam previously served as Commander, 169th Mission Support Group, Deputy Commander, 169th Mission Support, Commander, 169th Maintenance Squadron and Chief of Supply, 169th Logistics Readiness Squadron. He is currently the Assistant Adjutant General for Air, McEntire Joint National Guard Base.