Lest We Forget - African American Military History by Researcher, 
				Author and Veteran Bennie McRae, Jr.

Congressional Black Caucus Veterans Braintrust - Gala Reception and Awards Ceremony

Congressional Black Caucus Veterans Braintrust

Gala Reception and Awards Ceremony
Doubletree Hotel
1515 Rhode Island Avenue, NW
Washington, DC

September 8, 2006

Environmental Exposures and Health Disparities in African American Soldiers

Co-Chairs: Hon. Corrine Brown (D-FL)
Hon. Sanford Bishop, Jr. (D-GA)

Executive Director: Ron E. Armstead

The Veterans Braintrust gratefully thanks the generosity of:
General Motors Foundation

Hon. Corrine Brown (FL-03)

Corrine Brown was elected to Congress in 1992, as a public servant who prides herself on delivering the goods and services of the federal government to her constituents. Brown was reelected to the U.S. House of Representatives for a sixth term in November 2002. As a result of Brown's commitment to bringing the services of Washington back to Florida, communities throughout the Third District have been able to access resources previously unavailable to them.

During her tenure in Congress, Brown has always been a member of the Committee on Veterans Affairs. She has championed the rights of veterans and called for better funding for veterans health care programs. During the 10gth Congress, Brown served on both the Health and Benefits Subcommittees. As the former Ranking Member on Oversight and Investigation, Brown presided over twenty hearings on issues relating to veterans services, health care, and VA's readiness for the new millennium. She also called the first hearing since 1994 on issues concerning women veterans. Upon realizing the limited space for veterans burial in Florida, Brown introduced legislation that was later passed to establish a new national cemetery in south Florida. Brown also introduced legislation to expand and improve the National Veterans Cemetery System. She also championed legislation expanding the health and long term care benefits America's veterans' receive, improving veterans education benefits, and expediting claims processing. In 2002, Brown received the endorsement of the Veterans of Foreign Wars PAC, Legislative Leadership Award from the national Coalition for Homeless veterans, and in 2003, the prestigious Jesse Brown Distinguished Leadership Award from the NAACP.

A native of Jacksonville, Florida, Congresswoman Brown served in the Florida House of Representatives for ten years before coming to Washington, DC. Congresswoman Brown attended Florida A & M University where she earned a Bachelor of Science Degree. She also received a master's degree and an Education Specialist Degree from the University of Florida, and she received an Honorary Doctor of Law Degree from Edward Waters College. She has been a faculty member at Florida Community College of Jacksonville, the University of Florida, and Edward Waters College. Her daughter, Shantrel Brown is a lawyer in the Washington, DC area.


Hon. Sanford Bishop, Jr. (GA-02)

Sanford Bishop, Jr. is serving his seventh term in the US House of representatives from Georgia's Second Congressional District. He was first elected to Congress in 1992 after serving in the Georgia House of Representatives from 1977 to 1990, and the Georgia Senate from 1991 - 1992. Congressman Bishop, Jr. currently serves on the House Appropriations Committee, which is widely regarded as the most powerful committee assignment in Congress. He also serves as Chairman of a Democratic House task Force on Homeland Security, the Working Group on Defense of Physical Infrastructure and Natural Resources; Co-Chairman of the Forestry 2000 Task Force; Co-Chairman of the Peanut Caucus, and is a member of the Blue Dog Coalition of fiscally-conservative House Democrats.

He has held leadership positions at the community, state, and national levels, including serving as Georgia's representative on the Southern growth Policies Board, and on the Governor's Advisory Council on Drug Abuse.

A graduate of Morehouse College in 1968, and from Emory University Law School in 1971, with a Doctor of Law Degree. Congressman Bishop, Jr. also served in the U.S. Army, and formerly resided in Columbus, Georgia from 1972 to 1996, where he was the primary partner in the Law Firm of Bishop and Buckner, P.C. He is an Eagle Scout, a 32od degree Mason and a Shiner, and currently resides in Albany, Georgia where he is a member of the Mount Zion Baptist Church.

Congressman Bishop, Jr. was born February 4, 1947 in Mobile, Alabama, the son of the late Sanford Bishop, Sr., World . War II veteran and the first President of Bishop State Community College, and Mrs. Minnie S. Bishop, a librarian (Deceased), He is married to the Honorable Vivian Creighton) Bishop.



Master of Ceremonies

Ron E. Armstead, Executive Director, CBC Veterans Braintrust

Ron E. Armstead has served as Executive Director from 1988 to the present working both in Boston and Washington, DC over the past 21 years. Under his leadership the Veterans Braintrust has expanded from a small core group of activist to national support network and advocacy group throughout the nation devoted to veterans rights, human services, social justice, civil rights and community development. Mr. Armstead began his activist career at Boston State College in September 1975, as a campus organizer and later President of Student Government Association. During his time at BSC, he and several classmates incorporated the Veterans Benefits Clearinghouse, Inc, as an outgrowth of the Veterans Club on campus. His extensive background includes, but is not limited to issues of homelessness, mental health, social work, youth violence, affordable housing and community development.


Keynote Remarks

Samuel Black, Curator, African American Collection, Senator John Heinz Pittsburgh Regional History Center.

Samuel Black is the curator of African American Collections at the Senator John Heinz Pittsburgh Regional History Center, an affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution. In that capacity he oversees the development of archival and museum artifacts and art collection interpretation of the African and African American experience in Western Pennsylvania. Black holds an undergraduate degree in African American Studies from the University of Cincinnati, and a graduate degree in African studies from the State University of New York at Albany, where he was the recipient of the Perry Drake-Weston Award for Best Graduate Research.

From 1992 to February 2002 he was Associate Curator for African American History at the Western Reserve Historical Society (WRHS) in Cleveland, Ohio. His curatorial works include; the photographic art in "Yet Still We Rise: African American Art in Cleveland 1920 - 1970," a bicentennial exhibition by the Cleveland Artists Foundation that traveled to three Ohio cities; "I Could Stop on a Dime and Get Ten Cents Change," at the Cleveland Playhouse; "The Morrow of Tradition: African Americans in Cleveland 1890 to 1950,"; and "Frontier to Urbania: African American Voices in Cleveland," both at the WRHS; and "The Sojourn of Black Women in Akron's History," at the Shirla R. McClain Gallery of the Pan African Culture Center, the University of Akron; and most recently "Soul Soldiers: African Americans and the Vietnam Era," at the Heinz History Center.

Black has authored a number of essays, articles and narratives including, "African American Photographers of Cleveland, 1930 - 1965," in Yet Still We Rise: African American Art in Cleveland, 1920 - 1970; "Researching Image Makers of Yesterday" in Cleveland's Artistic Heritage; and "Cleveland: Civic, Literary and Mutual Aid Associations" in Organizing Black America: The Encyclopedia of African American Associations; "The National Underground Railroad Freedom Center: Museum of Conscience, in Ohio Valley History. He is also the editor of the forthcoming "Soul Soldiers: African Americans" and the Vietnam Era, and co-editor of Through the Lens of Allen E. Cole: African Americans in Cleveland to be published by Kent State University Press.


Sharon Raynor, Ph.D., Chairperson and Assistant Professor, Department of English and Foreign Language, Johnson C. Smith University

Sharon D. Raynor is currently the Department Chairperson and an Assistant Professor in the Department of English and Foreign Languages at Johnson C. Smith University in Charlotte, North Carolina. She completed her doctorate degree in Literature and Criticism from Indiana University of Pennsylvania in August 2003. She received both her Bachelor of Arts degree in English and her Master of Arts degree in Multicultural Literature at East Carolina University. Her doctoral dissertation is entitled: "Shattered Silence and restored Souls: Bearing Witness and Testifying to Trauma and Truth in the Narratives of Black Vietnam Veterans." From 1999-2002, she served as the Project Director for the North Carolina Humanities Council Grant, "Breaking the Silence: The Unbroken Brotherhood of Vietnam Veterans, which became a feature article of North Carolina Crossroads, a NCHC publication. She currently serves as the Humanities Scholar and Oral History Consultant for the project, "Soldier-to-Soldier: men and Women Share their Legacy of War," a speaker for the North Carolina Speaker's Forum and a scholar for the "Let's Talk About It Book" Discussion Program, both sponsored by the North Carolina Humanities Council. She teaches classes in and publishes in the areas of Vietnam War Studies. In June 2003, she traveled to and studied in Dakar, Senegal (West Africa) and the Cape Verde Islands as a participant in the International Faculty Development Seminar sponsored by the Council on International Educational Exchange (CIEE).

Individual Awardees

Mae Bell, Executive Director of the 2221 Association of Negro Volunteers of WWII and widow of Hayward Campbell

Barbara Sapp Davis, RN, BSN, CNOR, Minority Veterans Program Coordinator, Veterans Administration Medical Center, Houston, Texas

Forest Farley, Jr., Director, Veterans Administration Medical Center, Tampa, Florida

Ruth Hodge, Retired Archivist, Carlisle Barracks, Pennsylvania

William 'Billy' Jenkinson, III, Researcher of Stephen A. Swails and Champion for the 1st Lieutenant Stephan A. Swails Monument and Marker

Robert Malone, Jr., Director, Veterans Administration Medical Center, Tuscaloosa, Alabama

Michael McPherson, Executive Director, Veterans for Peace

Bennie J. McRae, Jr., Military History Researcher, Lecturer and Website Manager for 'Lest We Forget,' 'Making of the United States of America,' and 'African American Military History'

Douglas Moorman, Director, Veterans Administration Medical Center, Chillicothe, Ohio

Guy Richardson, Director, Veterans Administration Medical Center, Dayton, Ohio

John Rowan, National President, Vietnam Veterans of America (VVA)

William 'Willie' Sims, Founding Member, National Association for Black Veterans (NABV)

Linda Watson, Former Director, Veterans Administration Southeast Network (VISN7)



Organizational Awardees

Minority Health Profession Foundation (MHPF)

National Association of Atomic Veterans (NAAV)

National Gulf War Resource Center (NGWRC)

National Vietnam and Gulf War Veterans National Coalition

National Veterans Legal Service Project (NVLSP)

Research Center on Health Disparities (CHD), Morehouse School of Medicine

The Center for Strategic Studies on Race, Law and Public Policy, Inc.

Veterans for Peace (VFP) (David Cline, President)

Historic Sites or Groups

Black Heritage Museum and Annual Black Heritage Festival, (Mr. and Mrs. James Harrell)

Kimball War Memorial Building, Kimball, West Virginia (James Eubanks, Chairman)

Parting Ways Historical Site, New Bedford, Massachusetts (Eddie Johnson, Treasurer and Linda Liegay, President)

Southwest Association of Buffalo Soldiers (Thomas Stoney, Jr., President)

13th United States Colored Troops (USCT) (Sgt. Norman Hill)

United states Colored Troops Living History Association (USCTHA) (Joseph Certaine, President)


Photos by

Clinton Williams
Temple Hills, Maryland

Category: Events | Subcategory: 2006 | Tags: WWII , Buffalo Soldiers , North Carolina , Virginia , Georgia , Florida , Alabama , Texas , Washington , 1975
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