108th Training Command celebrates Black History Month

06/08/2010  |  Sgt. 1st Class Marty A. Collins 108th Training Command (IET) Public Affairs
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Maj. Gen. James Mallory presents Mr. Malcolm Beech Sr. with a Department of the Army Certificate of Appreciation. Beech was the guest speaker at the 2010 African American Black History Month celebration at the 108th Training Command (IET) headquarters in Charlotte, N.C. Photo by Sgt. 1st Class Marty A. Collins, 108th Training Command (IET) Public Affairs.

CHARLOTTE, North Carolina — Soldiers from the 108th Training Command (IET) headquarters gathered in the drill hall here Feb. 21 to observe Black History Month. Mr. Malcolm E. Beech Sr., a native of Kinston, N.C. served as the guest speaker at the event. Black History Month is a remembrance of important people and events in the history of African Americans and is celebrated annually in the United States in February.  The remembrance was founded in 1926 by United States historian Carter G. Woodson as “Negro History Week”.   Woodson chose the second week of February because it marked the birthdays of two Americans who greatly influenced the lives and social condition of African Americans: former President Abraham Lincoln and abolitionist and former slave Frederick Douglass.

During his speech Beech commented on the theme of this year’s event, “The History of Black Economic Empowerment”.  Beech graduated from Morehouse College in Atlanta, Ga. in 1969 and continued his education at Howard University in 1978 where he completed his MBA. In 2010 he plans to complete his Doctorate of Business Administration at the University of Phoenix. 

“The greatest skill Soldiers have is talent and education. You’re teaching people and changing people’s behavior and I think that’s very important.  People understand it’s a rough world out there and if you get in any environment, regardless of what it is from business to education, you have to be disciplined and focused on your goals and objectives,” said Beech. 

Beech has been an entrepreneur for most of his professional career. His business ventures have included food service management and publishing.  Recently, he was named Director of the Cultural Heritage Museum in Kinston, N.C. The museum has received national recognition from the Association of African American Museum through selection as a participant in the Leadership Initiative museum training program. Also, the National Trust for Historic Preservation selected Cultural Heritage Museum to participate in their Diversity Scholar program for training in historic preservation and ‘green’ environmental development.

“In 2008 we really crossed a major threshold and there are no excuses for African Americans at this point to not believe they cannot achieve anything,” said Beech. “We’re not dealing with these African American entrepreneurs’ in a box. You have to sell your goods and services to everyone; you can’t just stick with one particular racial niche market and expect to make it.”

Beech is also a Civil War re-enactor and is the founding president of the Cultural Heritage Museum as well as the 37th U.S. Colored Troops Regiment.

“In the military you have a mission statement.  In business it’s the same thing, you have to have a mission, vision, goals and objectives.  You have to know what you’re doing because you have limited resources.  In the military you have been able to focus a lot better than most groups.”

Beech is also a member of the Board of Directors of the U.S. Colored Troops Living History Association.  The board has planned and presented six different symposiums on the history of African American participation in the Civil War in the past six years. 

After Beech finished his closing remarks, Maj. Gen. James B. Mallory III, commanding general, 108th Training Command (IET) presented Beech with a Department of the Army Certificate of Appreciation and Commander’s Coin. 

“As you go forward I commend Mr. Beech’s remarks about setting the example, don’t just keep your light under the bushel.  We have to get out and interact with young people to show them there is a different way to live their lives,” said Mallory.

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