Tuskegee Airmen Invited to Obama Inauguration – NYTimes.com.

Thousands of people who participated in the fight for civil rights over several decades helped pave the way for Mr. Obama’s triumph. But the Tuskegee Airmen have a special place in history. Their bravery during the war — on behalf of a country that actively discriminated against them — helped persuade President Harry S. Truman to desegregate the military in 1948.

“The election of Barack Obama was like a culmination of a struggle that we were going through, wanting to be pilots,” said William M. Wheeler, 85, a retired Tuskegee combat fighter pilot who lives in Hempstead, N.Y. He tried to become a commercial pilot after the war but was offered a job cleaning planes instead.


This is incredible. One of the proudest moments of my own life was getting to meet several Tuskeegee Airmen when I was in elementary school in DC. My school had an “air & space” program for kids interested in, well, air and space. The woman who organized the group had connections to the Tuskeegee Airmen, and I remember my momma being oh so proud.

The moment meant more to her at the time than I understood. People like these demonstrate why we often say black Americans are the most American people there are. Despite the history and circumstances in their own lives, men like these gave much to a country that rarely gave them anything. Seeing Team Obama acknowledge the extraordinary contribution and sacrifice of these men is incredible.

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