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VA Western New York Healthcare System
Black History Month Celebration
Wednesday, February 28, 2018On February 23, 2018, Black History Month was celebrated with two VA employee and Veteran speakers of distinction at VA Western New York Healthcare System’s Buffalo, New York, site. Mr. Kevin Douglass Greene, the great, great grandson of abolitionist Frederick Douglass, along with author and Veteran advocate Eugene “Tree” Hairston, spoke eloquently on topics relating to this year’s Black History Month theme of “African-Americans in Times of War.” Mr. Greene offered details about his family’s historic and storied background with special commentary on Frederick Douglass, once a longtime resident of Rochester, New York. Frederick Douglass was buried in Rochester at Mt. Hope Cemetery in 1895. He also spoke passionately about the need to plan and set career goals properly in order to achieve one’s dreams. Mr. Hairston spoke intimately about his personal problems growing up and how he suffered from PTSD and drug use after his service in Vietnam. Mr. Hairston charted his inspirational rise from homelessness and once living in cardboard refrigerator shipping boxes and then finally moving forward, after extensive VA treatment, to become an author and successful Veteran advocate at Bay Pines VA Healthcare System, Florida. Also featured were Buffalo’s African American Cultural Center who filled Freedom Hall with exciting and festive music and dancers.