The Jewish Community Relations Council of Southern New Jersey, in honor of the first day of Black History Month 2023, shares a timeless story about The Tuskegee Airmen!
The Tuskegee Airmen was a small group of dedicated, talented, and courageous African American pilots and crews who courageously fought for the U.S. in WWII despite facing racism and segregation at home.
In September of 1941, three months before the attack on Pearl Harbor, Captain Benjamin O’Davis, Jr., became the first black American to solo pilot as a US army Air Corps officer. Later, though institutional racism of the time, was keeping the Tuskegee Airmen from any combat duty, Colonel Davis challenged his superior officers to allow black pilots in his command to prove themselves with the opportunity to fight in combat for their country, after passing the pilots exam, completing flight school and surviving basic combat. He was promoted to General later in his career and awarded his 4th-Star in 1998 by then President, Bill Clinton.
Finally, one year after their induction into the Tuskegee Squadron, a small group of the Airmen were given their first mission in Italy, delivering for the U.S. and our allies decisive victories in air battle and ground targets. Their planes had a distinctive red marking on the tails, which gave them the nickname of “Red Tails”, also the title of the motion picture film by the same name about their history!
In 1948, President Harry Truman signed an executive order which integrated the U.S. armed forces, ending decades of segregation. Today Black men and women are an integral part of and serve with distinction in our U.S. armed forces both here and all over the world.
Tuskegee Airmen Veteran, General Daniel “Chappy” James was America’s first 4-Star Black General
In 2012, members of the Tuskegee Airmen accepted the Simon Wiesenthal Center’s Medal of Valor at an award ceremony at the Beverly Hilton Hotel. Here are just a few of the Tuskegee Airmen Squadron. We thank you for fighting for our country during a time when it was difficult to stand your ground as viable members of America’s military units! We solute you for your bravery and courage and for putting your lives on the line to defend all our freedoms as Americans.
Learn More About Black History Month's National Campaign with Events and History Archives!