2021 Black Veterans Calendar
A Message from the Director of the Veterans Reading Brigade, Haywood Fennell, Sr.
Narrative: The Veterans Reading Brigade has been involved in educating the community on the importance of military contributions by Black Veterans, both female and male. There has been and still is, a significant absence of information in our history books and school curricula concerning Black American military involvement in the United States military service. There is a rich history of Black Americans serving, dating back to the establishment of our country during the American Revolution, to current military struggles today, but these stories are generally ignored. By following this calendar, students will learn about important segments of history, and hopefully spark a vested interest in creating positive discussions among their families, friends, and peers, with a potential to spawn interest in our communities, elevating a sense of belonging and self pride.
Objective: Members of the Veterans Reading Brigade did a presentation to a class of youth involved at the Artists for Humanity’s after school art project and later commissioned them to create renderings that have now become an art exhibit. Each rendering depicts a veteran utilizing their respective roles to continue to keep Americans free. Each student artist involved was required to research their subject in order to learn more about the individual, as well as the unequal citizenship they operated under while risking their lives in combat. The exhibit was completed for Black History Month and on display at the Mass. State House in 2012 and at Newton City Hall in 2014. Over one thousand visitors came to the State House to view the renderings. So far the February 2015—the most successful exhibit so far—was held in Worcester and was a collaboration spear headed by the Worcester Public School where Governor Charlie Baker, Secretary for Veterans Services, Francisco Urena and other elected officials and dignitaries were involved. The Veterans Reading Brigade is creating a strategy to place the actual paintings in university art galleries for designated times.
Goal: To create an annual calendar using the images rendered by those student artists peppered with important historical events, a powerful teaching tool is made to educate others. The calendar is a part of our many approaches to informing and inspiring students to learn how to research and write about American history, Black Veteran’s roles of service to America with valor, gallantry and honor.