6 Renowned Tuskegee Airmen – HISTORY

As the first black aviators to serve in the US Army Air Corps, Tuskegee Airmen broke a barrier of massive segregation in the US military. Their success and heroism during World War II, fighting the Germans in the skies of Europe, shattered the ubiquitous stereotypes that African Americans had neither character nor fighting skills. And their achievements laid the crucial foundation for the advancement of civil rights in the decades to come.

In the summer of 1939, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed the Civilian Pilot Training Program Act to train civilian aviators in colleges and vocational schools for a national emergency. The law contained a provision that “none of the benefits of training or programs should be denied on the basis of race, creed or color”. At the time, there were only 124 black pilots licensed in the United States – and none in the Army Air Corps.

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