Fort Hamilton recalls black civil rights struggle

Fort Hamilton recalls black civil rights struggle
Photo by Steve Solomonson

Fort Ham got a piece of history on Feb. 21.

The army base honored Black History Month by inviting Bronx dance troupe INSPIRIT and African-American poet Sean Ingram to perform for soldiers, base employees, and civilian families.

Garrison commander Colonel Eluyn Ginés opened the event with a speech recognizing the enormous contributions blacks have made to United States Army, in spite of their often unfair treatment in American society.

“Despite the discord and the injustice our brothers and sisters faced, there was never a time in our history when African-Americans were unwilling to fight bravely for our country,” Colonel Ginés said.

Ingram then took the stage and spoke about black history, pointing out that Martin Luther King’s 1963 March on Washington came 100 years after the Emancipation Proclamation and that 50 years have now passed since the famous civil rights demonstration, and asked what has been accomplished in that time. Ingram then read a few of his acclaimed verses.

“I have wiped away my tears, I’ve conquered my greatest fears!” the poet intoned.

INSPIRIT then put on an astounding dance routine that paid tribute to the great boxer and black activist Muhammad Ali — which base spokesman Alison Kohler said was a huge hit with the audience.

“A lot of people really liked the male dance group, because they don’t get to see that kind of thing very often,” said Kohler.

Colonel Ginés later presented Ingram and INSPIRIT with certificates acknowledging their performance and talents.

Reach reporter Will Bredderman at [email protected] or by calling (718) 260-4507. Follow him at twitter.com/WillBredderman.

Words and action: Fort Hamilton Commander Eluyn Gines presented an award to poet and motivational speaker Sean Ingram.
Photo by Steve Solomonson

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