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Sierra Leone Envoy joins US troops in Belgium to celebrate Black History Month

By Chernor Ojuku Sesay, Brussels, Belgium - Saturday 6 February 2010.

“Be ashamed to die until you have won victory for humanity”, these were the concluding remarks of Sierra Leone’s Ambassador to the Kingdom of Belgium and the European Union, Dr. Christian Kargbo to mark the Black History Month 2010 celebration at the US SHAPE/CHIEVRES Community, where the US troops serving in the NATO forces are based in Belgium.

Dr. Kargbo, who was delivering his keynote address as Guest Speaker at the ceremony said there was a time in the United States when even educated black men could not get jobs simply because employment opportunities were denied them- thus they were recruited either as unskilled labourers or Sharecroppers.

He narrated to his audience his own personal experience whilst he was reading for his Masters and Doctorate degrees at the Southern Illinois University in the USA, when a Restaurant Attendant refused to serve them food because two American (white) lecturers had attend with him (a black man) in the Restaurant.

He explained that when they entered the Restaurant with the two white American lecturers, they waited for about 45 minutes for the service that was not forthcoming. One of the white lecturers, he continued, approached the Attendant to enquire. The Attendant, according to Dr. Kargbo replied that they could not serve them food because “they had entered the Restaurant with a coloured man”. The Lecturer, the Ambassador continued, took out his pistol and fired up the air in anger and they worked out.

However, Dr. Kargbo continued his address, following the formation of civil rights movements like the National Urban League and the Martin Luther King Movement, the belief in racial equality has helped mobilise socio-economic changes through the institution of policies that resulted in the dismantling of legalised segregation in the United States.

Despite these gains however, Dr Kargbo told his audience, black economic empowerment is still work in progress, as economic empowerment initiatives will never be a success for the black man in particular until issues such as poverty, education, equal employment opportunity, unemployment and diversity in the work place are addressed in practical terms by government officials.

Part of the celebrations include a performance from the SHAPE High School titled, “Who Am I”, highlighting the contributions and achievements of prominent black African/Americans like Martin Luther King, Michael Jackson, Collin Powell, Barrack Obama etc.

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