Every February as we commemorate Black History Month, I think it’s important to reflect on and celebrate the important contributions African Americans have made to Scouting. Those contributions are many, and our movement would not be what it is today without them.
Just have a quick look at this list of 10 prominent African-American leaders who got their start in Scouting (you might see a face or two that you didn’t know was connected with the BSA). These men have left an indelible mark on their fields — from politics to sports to space exploration and beyond — not to mention our organization. I am honored to be associated with a movement that has produced such distinguished leaders. Their contributions to the greater good — and to Scouting itself — are proof positive of the important work that the BSA does to develop the character and leadership skills of young men.
I’m also proud of some of our young men today who have demonstrated their own exceptional character by honoring the legacy of some other African Americans who have played an important role in our nation’s history.
After paying a visit to the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum in Kansas City, Gordon Smith of Troop 170 in Macon, Georgia, decided that his Eagle Scout project would honor players in the Macon Negro League with the installation of commemorative plaques at historic Luther Williams Field.
And for his Eagle Scout project last year, Charles Pitchford of Troop 628 in Norfolk, Va. restored burial sites of black soldiers who fought for the Union during the Civil War.
Without question, Scouting is better for the contributions of our African-American members past and present, and for the important ways that our members have observed Black History Month through their service work.
How are you recognizing and celebrating Black History Month? I’d love to hear about it.
Thanks for reading and for sharing.