WASHINGTON – The Tuskegee Airmen weren’t supposed to succeed.
A 1925 study by the Army War College titled “The Use of Negro Manpower in War” concluded that African-American “men were cowards and poor technicians and fighters, lacking initiative and resourcefulness.” It also called them a “subspecies of the human population.”
So the Army Air Corps wasn’t expecting much in 1941 when it began training a small group of African-American men to become pilots at Alabama’s Tuskegee Institute, a historically black college.
What it got was one of the most successful flying squadrons in American military history. Shattering racist stereotypes, they flew more than 15,000 sorties over North Africa and Europe during World War II, destroyed more than 250 enemy aircraft on the ground and 150 in the air, and fiercely protected the American and Allied bombers they escorted on missions. Read more