A Quarter Century of "Black Wings"

A talk with the curator of the National Air and Space Museum's soon-to-be-updated exhibit on African-Americans in aviation.

In March 1945, Colonel Benjamin O. Davis was commander of the U.S. Army Air Forces 332nd Fighter Group (better known as the Tuskegee airmen) in Italy. Pilots of the 332nd flew North American P-51 Mustangs as fighter escorts for Allied bombers. After the war, Davis would become the first black general in the U.S. Air Force. (Toni Frissell Collection/Library of Congress)
Air & Space Magazine | Subscribe

(Continued from page 1)

If you talk to some of the early black aviators—and some of the early women aviators—something that always struck me is that they weren’t sociologists. They were not civil rights advocates. They wanted to fly. That was the primary dynamic in their lives. And to the degree they became civil rights crusaders, it was just to get these restrictions lifted.

Comment on this Story

comments powered by Disqus