In spite of adversity and limited opportunities, African Americans have played a significant role in U.S. military history over the past 300 years. They were denied military leadership roles and skilled training because many believed they lacked qualifications for combat duty. Before 1940, African Americans were barred from flying for the U.S. military. Civil rights organizations and the black press exerted pressure that resulted in the formation of an all African-American pursuit squadron based in Tuskegee, Alabama, in 1941. They became known as the Tuskegee Airmen.
The military selected Tuskegee Institute to train pilots because of its commitment to aeronautical training. Tuskegee had the facilities, and engineering and technical instructors, as well as a climate for year round flying. The first Civilian Pilot Training Program students completed their
instruction in May 1940. The Tuskegee program was then expanded and became the center for African-American aviation during World War II.
The Tuskegee Airmen overcame segregation and prejudice to become one of the most highly respected fighter groups of World War II. They proved conclusively that African Americans could fly and maintain sophisticated combat aircraft. The Tuskegee Airmen's achievements, together with the men and women who supported them, paved the way for full integration of the U.S. military. Here you will explore our very own Tuskegee Airmen of Western Pennsylvania – our history, our programs, and ways that you may help honor their accomplishments and perpetuate their legacy.
Tuskegee Airmen Memorial of the Greater Pittsburgh Region, Inc. was founded in 2010 to organize commemorative events in honor of the Tuskegee Airmen whose courageous actions during World War II helped to defeat the Nazis while facing some of the most cruel racial discrimination in the military and upon their return home to the United States.
Copyright 2015. All rights reserved.