African Americans 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.
Indiana War Memorial, 431 North Meridian, Indianapolis, Indiana
Saturday, January 14th through Sunday, March 4th, 2012
Weekly: Wednesday through Sunday, from 9am to 5pm
Lewis A. Jackson, PhD, Angola, Indiana native, was selected as the civilian Director of the 66th Army air Forces Flying Training Detachment. ALL Tuskegee Airmen pilots were trained by the flight instructors that Dr. Jackson supervised and directed.
Charles P. Hall, Brazil Indiana Native, the African American with an aerial combat victory over an enemy aircraft. The legacy of the Tuskegee Airmen began with this victory, by a young man from Indiana.
Armour G. McDaniel, an Indianapolis transplant after the war, who served as Commander of the 301st Fighter Squadron, took command of the longest escort mission flown in the European theater when Benjamin Davis was forced to return to base due to mechanical problems, was subsequently shot down over Berlin during that same mission and became one of the few Airmen to become a Prisoner of War. He was co-founder and first President of the Indianapolis Chapter of the Tuskegee Airmen, Inc.
Charles DeBow, Indianapolis native and member of the first Class of Graduates from the Tuskegee Advanced Flying School who subsequently became Commander of the 301st Fighter Squadron. He too was a co-founder of the Indianapolis Chapter
Captain Randall was an Indianapolis native and Commander of the 320th College Training Detachment whose mission and purpose was to prepare ALL cadets who had not completed a college degree prior to entering the rigors of flight training