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African Americans

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Wed, August 22 2012

Tuskegee Red Lands at Air and Space!

During World War II, a group of young, enthusiastic and skilled African American men pressed the limits of flight and the boundaries of racial inequality by becoming Army Air Forces pilots. Most of these pilots trained at Moton Field in Tuskegee, Alabama.

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Tuskegee Crape Myrtle
Thu, May 24 2012

The Desegregation of Airports in the American South

Many older African Americans who grew up in the South painfully remember the time when black passengers had to sit in the back of busses or use separate train compartments; and when train stations and bus terminals provided separate but mostly unequal facilities such as drinking fountains, restrooms, waiting lounges, and eating facilities for black and white passengers.

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Segregated Montgomery Airport
Thu, February 9 2012

Red Tail Stories

I would like to think that I’ve always known the inspirational story of the Tuskegee Airmen—the groundbreaking pilots of the 332nd Fighter Group and the 477th Bombardment Group.

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Tuskegee Airmen with Mae Jemison
Wed, October 5 2011

Flying the “Spirit of Tuskegee” Part III

This piece is a follow up to the posts below, in which I describe my experience flying a PT-13 Stearman that was used to train Tuskegee Airmen during WWII, from Moton Field, Alabama to Andrews AFB.

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Sat, August 6 2011

Spirit of Tuskegee Arrives at Andrews AFB

This post is a follow up to Tuskegee Bird Flies North. ...So I was on the phone Monday evening and my wife asked me, "Well, what did you do today?" With subtle nonchalance I said, "Well, I strapped into the front seat of Matt's Stearman, ya know, the one that was flown by the Tuskegee Airmen during World War II, and flew over Appomattox Court House, ya know, where Gen. Robert E. Lee surrendered his Army to Gen.

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Dik Daso and Matt Quy with PT-13 Stearman
Sat, July 30 2011

Tuskegee Bird Flies North

During the past two years, it has been my privilege to work closely with the curatorial staff of the National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC) to locate an aircraft with a lineage tied directly to the Tuskegee Airmen. We were fortunate enough to accomplish the mission that will culminate in the acquisition of a PT-13 Stearman that flew at Moton Field, Alabama, during WW II—the home of the Tuskegee Airmen.

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PT-13 Stearman
Sun, March 13 2011

Musings on Black History Month-Women’s History Month and the History of Aviation

For a number of years now, the United States has set aside February and March to celebrate Black History Month and National Women’s History Month, respectively. While these commemorations are praiseworthy, they should not disguise the fact that they have been rather contentious culturally. Some would argue that it is insulting to African Americans to celebrate their history for only one month every year. In the case of women, National Women’s History Month has become a call to arms in an ongoing struggle for women’s rights, to ensure educational and economic opportunities for all women, and for ending violence against them.

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Bessie Coleman Aero Club; William Powell
Tue, October 12 2010

Eugene J. Bullard

Eugene Jacques Bullard is considered to be the first African-American military pilot to fly in combat, and the only African-American pilot in World War I.

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Portrait of Eugene Bullard
Sun, September 12 2010

She Had a Dream: Mae C. Jemison, First African American Woman in Space

Have you ever had a dream of what you wanted to do in life? How about a wish that you hoped every day would come true?  Were you ever truly inspired by something or someone at an early age that shaped the course of your life? Living a lifelong dream does not come to many, but for Dr. Mae Jemison, space travel was always an area of fascination.

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Mae Jemison
Tue, August 24 2010

Quietly Soaring into History: First African American in Space

As August 30 approaches, a significant anniversary in American history may come along virtually unnoticed, just as it almost did twenty-seven years ago.

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Official STS-8 crew portrait

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