NEWS | March 8, 2016

Army Reserve soldiers experience living history

By Sgt. Aaron Berogan 85th Support Command

ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill. – While time-travel is not something that is possible, the Army Reserve’s 85th Support Command headquarters staff found a way to experience living history during their weekend battle assembly Equal Opportunity observances.

February and March mark the observances of both Black History and Women’s History Month. In commemoration of these two months, the 85th SPT CMD hosted Cynthia Maddox, Chicago actress, who brought history to life in a one-woman show called Five Famous African-American Women.

“I really enjoyed the presentation because we received the opportunity to see history come to life, as opposed to just reading about it or [watching] a PowerPoint presentation,” explained Lt. Col. Vickie Argueta, Equal Opportunity Advisor, 85th Support Command. “The way Miss Maddox got into character for me made it feel as though those woman were actually there.”

Maddox presented the roles of five African American women, one at a time, dating back to 1761 with Phillis Wheatley, the first African American poet, and changed into the roles of the wife of Crispus Attucks, Harriet Tubman, Sojourner Truth, and Gwendolyn Brooks, using nothing more than a coat rack with various clothing articles hung on it.

The program was also conducted at the Great Lakes Training Division, 75th Training Command, at Fort Sheridan, Illinois, just two weeks ago. 

According to Argueta, the presentation received such high praise at the GLTD, 75th TC that the Equal Opportunity staff felt it would be a great idea to bring the same program to the 85th SPT CMD soldiers.

“I am just amazed with the work our EO office does,” said Brig. Gen. Frederick R. Maiocco Jr., Commanding General, 85th Support Command. “They always find such wonderful and impactful ways for us to take part in these observances.” 

Argueta said she could not help but notice how engaged the soldiers were with Maddox’s performance and how she brought the history of these five women to life. 

Maddox shared that she was thrilled to perform for the soldiers and share these stories. Maddox felt that people do not always understand or know their history, and she found that making history come to life and giving it a shape and sound has been more profound. 

After the observance, Maiocco presented Maddox with a certificate of appreciation for her performance, bringing two important observances to life.