Tuskegee Airman plane

An authentic, newly restored P-51D Mustang painted in the likeness of the 332nd Fighter Group’s Red Tail plane flown by Tuskegee Airman Capt. Lawrence Dickson inside the U.S. Freedom Pavilion: The Boeing Center at the National WWII Museum in New Orleans.

—Matthew Hinton/New Orleans Advocate

• On March 20, 1912, at the age of 30, Emory Conrad Malick, of Pennsylvania, became the first Black pilot to earn an international pilot’s license.

Bessie Coleman was the first African-American woman to earn a pilot’s license in 1921 and flew as a show/stunt pilot.

Amelia Earhart was the first female aviator to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean in 1932.

• In 1941, The 99th Pursuit Squadron was activated at Tuskegee comprised of Black pilots and ground crews. They became known as the Tuskegee Airmen, a segregated military unit.

• Gen. Benjamin O. Davis Jr. was the first African-American U.S. Air Force (which was basically known as the Army Air Corps earlier) pilot. In July 1942, he was assigned as commander of the Tuskegee Airmen.

• Guion “Guy” Bluford Jr., of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, was the first African American in space. Bluford participated in four flights of the space shuttle between 1983 and 1992. He is a graduate of Overbrook Senior High School in West Philadelphia.

Mae Carol Jemison became the first African-American woman to travel into space in 1992 when she served as a mission specialist aboard the Space Shuttle Endeavour. The former NASA astronaut is also an engineer and physician.

Patrice Clarke Washington became the first African-American female to command planes for a major air carrier in 1994.

(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.