1942 March 7

First Class of Tuskegee Airmen Graduates

 

The Tuskegee Airmen were a special group of African-American pilots in the U.S. Army Air Corps during World War II. Creation of the group was the result of civil rights activity in the late 1930s, when the NAACP and others demanded that the government allow African-Americans to serve as pilots. In April 1939, Congress passed an amendment providing funds for training African-American pilots. Eventually, 992 pilots trained at Tuskegee and 450 were deployed overseas.

A total of 150 died in combat or accidents and 32 were captured as prisoners of war.

The U.S. armed forced remained racially segregated through World War II, and were not integrated until President Harry Truman ordered it on July 26, 1948.

Visit the Tuskegee Airmen Web Site:
http://www.tuskegeeairmen.org/

Read: J. Todd Moye, Freedom Flyers: The Tuskegee Airmen of World War II (2010)

Visit the Tuskegee Airmen Museum in Detroit:
http://tuskegeeairmennationalmuseum.org/home\

Learn more about African American history: Henry Louis Gates, Life Upon These Shores: Looking at African American History, 1513-2008 (2011)

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