This post was originally published on Afro

By Michelle Richardson

African Americans have been fighting on behalf of their country since before the United States were actually “united.” They fought in the Revolutionary War and in the Civil War, where approximately 180,000 Black soldiers joined the fight. 

Fast forward to 2023 when, according to the Department of Defense, there are 357,649 African Americans on active duty in a military branch. 

“Every war that has ever been fought, black people have served,” stated Tyrone “Doc T” Taborn, CEO of Career Communications Group and author  of a tune to salute Black members of the military.

The impetus for the song came when Taborn was pulling together the Black Engineer of the Year Awards (BEYA) and wanted to honor Black veterans during the conference. He had a hard time finding a song.

Taborn, publisher of U.S. Black Engineer Magazine, Hispanic Engineer Magazine and Women of Color Magazine, forged a song himself, “We Earn Our Stripes.”

BEYA’s Stars and Stripes organization is the largest group of retired military officers. “I was sitting there, just looking for a song that honored Blacks in the military and you know what? I couldn’t find one song,” Taborn told the AFRO.

Taborn said he then called generals and admirals and asked if there were any songs similar to “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” the Negro National Anthem, that could serve as a tribute to Black members of the military.

“Everybody said there’s nothing and I said, ‘You gotta be joking!’” 

He said he reached out for help because, he said, “I’m not a music guy.” 

“I sent the song over to Gov. Wes Moore, who’s a good friend, Gov. Moore said it was brilliant and that was significant because he served in the military.”

Janice Chance, a Baltimore native, listened to the song and was taken aback.

“I am grateful to Tyrone Taborn for writing this song. Our Black armed forces members were able to overcome prejudice and many other obstacles,” said Chance. “My heart was warmed and filled with pride and thanksgiving. Too often people forget that family members serve, too.”

Chance is the mother of Army veteran Janine Melton and fallen U.S. Marine Capt. Jesse Melton III. Melton was killed in 2008 in Afghanistan and is buried in Arlington National Cemetery. 

Rashad Browder, a military policeman with the Army National Guard, was happy to hear that there was a song created that he could sing and feel good about. 

“When I was in basic training, the cadences were my favorite part. I loved singing the songs about soldiers. Now I get to sing a song about Black soldiers.”  

Taborn hopes “We Earn Our Stripes” inspires Black military members across the country and abroad.

 “My father served in the Army and all of my Uncles served in different branches of the military,” said Taborn. “This is a tribute to those who served our nation and were not given their proper respect.” 

“We Earn Our Stripes” can be heard on Youtube using the following link: 

The post ‘We Earn Our Stripes’: a song for Black Americans who serve appeared first on AFRO American Newspapers.