I’ve been with AT&T for a long time – 35 years to be exact.

I started at South Central Bell which later became Bell South. We were affectionately known as one of the “Baby Bells” before becoming one family at AT&T. During my time, I have seen a lot of changes in our business.  

I saw a handful of U.S. presidents take the oath of office. I saw the emergence of the internet. I witnessed the rise and fall of parachute pants…

Glad those are gone.  

I’ve also seen AT&T continually demonstrate our support to diverse communities.

So it was no surprise to hear we’ve made a $1 million contribution to the National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC) in Washington, D.C.

The NMAAHC is the newest addition to the Smithsonian family and the only national museum specifically dedicated to preserving and sharing African American history and culture.

My company has not only thrown its support behind the museum, we’ve joined with other industry leaders to contribute to this great initiative.

The $1 million AT&T contribution is especially noteworthy considering today’s well-documented racial and political divisions. This contribution warms my heart particularly as an Alabama native who lived through the parts of the Civil Rights movement.

Young people read about the events that shaped my own upbringing. I remember the struggles black people faced as we fought for basic rights and freedoms. I remember the injustices, the protests and violence.

But I also remember the hope of a better tomorrow.

All of this served to empower a generation and a movement. The struggle is far from over, and there is still so much work left to do. My age group is excited to pass the baton of social justice to the young people coming behind us. But they’ll need to understand the rich history of African Americans from slavery to the first black president. 

The journey doesn’t end there, however.

We’ve made great strides from the oppression of the past to become a powerful community within this country, however many issues continue to persist today.  I am confident of a better future and I believe that unless one understands their history, they cannot affect their future. This is why this investment in the NMAAHC is important. It’s been a long road and the NMAAHC is helping to trace each step.

I’m grateful to AT&T for being a company that actively supports diversity and inclusion. It’s a great comfort to know that I’ve invested my career in a company that invests in my community. If you’re ever in the D.C. area, I encourage you to check out the National Museum of African American History and Culture.

 It promises to be a breathtaking experience worthy of the rich history and culture it honors.

This is the view point of one employee and Community NETwork ERG member who is 50+ and proud.  You can also hear what a millennial employee has to say about the AT&T contribution here.

To learn more about our commitment to diversity and inclusion across all communities, visit www.about.att.com/sites/diversity or download our 2015 D&I report.

Gerald King
Gerald King Senior Client Services Project Manager