- Old Stories, New Voices Intercultural Youth Program
- Conflict Management: Using communication strategies to prevent conflict and improve relationships
- Change Management and Appreciative Inquiry
- Workplace Diversity and Inclusion
- Teambuilding: Empowerment of Employees
- Instilling an appreciation for historic preservation
Lee N. Coffee, Jr., Manage conflict and improve relationships, you: Learn interaction skills for success, Build better work relationships, Effective management practices, Decreased absenteeism, Increased retention, Empower Employees, Improved morale.
Lee N. Coffee, “Buffalo Soldiers” “Diversity” “Leadership” Clad in a black hat and a blue jacket with sergeant chevrons on each sleeve, historian Lee N. Coffee, Jr. presented a reenactment of Buffalo Soldier Emanuel Stance during the Equal Opportunity Office’s Black History Month.
In a Southern drawl, Coffee portrayed Sgt. Stance in his early days as a member of the 9th Calvary Regiment, one of several all-black units sanctioned by Congress shortly after the Civil War.
Known as the Buffalo Soldiers, the 9th and 10th Calvary Regiments along with four other infantry regiments were responsible for monitoring the westward movement during the 19th century.
The men escorted settlers, guarded supply wagons and built railways and telegraph lines, paving the way for civilization in the remote areas of the West.
Historically it is believed that Native Americans nicknamed the cavalrymen Buffalo Soldiers because either they thought the black Soldiers’ dark, curly hair resembled the mane of a buffalo. Another explanation of the name is the unit was resilient just like a buffalo.
Coffee also touched on this year’s Department of Defense Black History Month theme: The Niagara Movement, which was a 1905 meeting of black intellectuals that took place in Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada.
Led by renowned scholar W.E.B. Du Bois, the group outlined a proposal arguing for the extension of civil liberties to blacks and the eradication of racial discrimination. In addition, their manifesto rejected the accommodation philosophy of Tuskegee academic Booker T. Washington, which encouraged blacks’ socioeconomic progression over the need to obtain civil and political rights.
“It was the beginning of black protest thought in America,” Coffee said of the movement, which marks its 100th anniversary in July.
A 24-year veteran of the Army, Coffee linked Du Bois’ contested ideology to the social injustices African-American servicemen experienced during the Civil War era.
Black Soldiers received a laborer’s pay of $10 a month, while their white counterparts were allocated $13, he said.
Du Bois’ called for the institution of economic, social and political rights for blacks. “Those are the basic entitlements” for any human being, said Coffee. Garrison Commander Col. Thomas W. Williams also noted that African-American Soldiers were continually denied equal opportunity, long after the establishment of the all-black regiments during the late 1800s.
“As a people, we became very discouraged because, we were told to work… but wait,” he said. Du Bois’ is notable because he “led black Americans to equality.” Williams said that members of the controversial Niagara Movement were viewed as “a bunch of folks trying to make trouble.”
“Instead, we have a bunch of folks that we’re trying to make progress,” he said.
Although American society has evolved over the years, extending civil liberties to people of all backgrounds, the commander recognized that social and racial injustices still plague our culture.
“We can never be complacent to think that everything’s going to be all right,” Williams said.
“We have to continue to look inside ourselves to make sure we’re making it equal.”