Wednesday, March 24, 2010

This Day In History: Tuskegee Airmen Cleared for Takeoff

Around this date in 1941, the Tuskegee Airmen were activated for combat duty in World War II. This unit of the U.S. Army Air Corps (the precursor to the U.S. Air Force) was the first group of African Americans to fly in battle for the United States military. The participation of the Tuskegee Airmen in the war's European theater was crucial to American success; not a single bomber plane escorted by the all-black Ninety-Ninth Pursuit Squadron was lost to enemy fighters. The unit's impeccable reputation contributed to the end of racial segregation in America's armed forces.

For more information on this groundbreaking team of aviators, check out some of these materials available at the NCC Libraries:

Black Wings: Courageous Stories of African Americans in Aviation and Space History
by Von Hardesty
TL 539 .H285 2008 Stacks, Main

The Tuskegee Airmen [DVD]
produced by PBS Home Video
D 790 .T8 2004 Media Tower, Main

Double V: The Civil Rights Struggle of the Tuskegee Airmen
by Lawrence P. Scott
E-BOOK (Online)

A-Train: Memoirs of a Tuskegee Airman
by Charles W. Dryden
E-BOOK (Online)

Red-Tail Angels: The Story of the Tuskegee Airmen of World War II
by Pat McKissack
D 790 .M333 1995 Stacks, Main

You can also search the African American Experience or History Resource Center databases for articles, photographs and primary source materials.

Works Cited:

"Tuskegee Airmen." Encyclopædia Britannica Online. Web. 15 Dec. 2009 <>.

Tuskegee Airmen: war bond poster. Photograph. Encyclopædia Britannica Online. Web. Dec. 2009 <>.

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