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Freedom Flyers:

The Tuskegee Airmen of World War II

Paperback (258 pages), audiobook
The legacy of a determined, visionary cadre of African American airmen who proved their capabilities and patriotism beyond question, transformed the armed forces and jump-started the modern struggle for racial equality.

Freedom Flyers:

In this inspiring account of the Tuskegee Airmen--the country's first African American military pilots--historian J. Todd Moye captures the challenges and triumphs of these brave aviators in their own words, drawing on more than 800 interviews recorded for the National Park Service's Tuskegee Airmen Oral History Project.

Denied the right to fully participate in the U.S. war effort alongside whites at the beginning of World War II, African Americans--spurred on by black newspapers and civil rights organizations such as the NAACP--compelled the prestigious Army Air Corps to open its training programs to black pilots, despite the objections of its top generals. Thousands of young men came from every part of the country to Tuskegee, Alabama, in the heart of the segregated South, to enter the program, which expanded in 1943 to train multi-engine bomber pilots in addition to fighter pilots. By the end of the war, Tuskegee Airfield had become a small city populated by black mechanics, parachute packers, doctors, and nurses. Together, they helped prove that racial segregation of the fighting forces was so inefficient as to be counterproductive to the nation's defense.

Freedom Flyers brings to life the legacy of a determined, visionary cadre of African American airmen who proved their capabilities and patriotism beyond question, transformed the armed forces--formerly the nation's most racially polarized institution--and jump-started the modern struggle for racial equality.Product Description
As the country's first African American military pilots, the Tuskegee Airmen fought in World War II on two fronts: against the Axis powers in the skies over Europe and against Jim Crow racism and segregation at home. Although the pilots flew more than 15,000 sorties and destroyed more than 200 German aircraft, their most far-reaching achievement defies quantification: delivering a powerful blow to racial inequality and discrimination in American life.

In this inspiring account of the Tuskegee Airmen, historian J. Todd Moye captures the challenges and triumphs of these brave pilots in their own words, drawing on more than 800 interviews recorded for the National Park Service's Tuskegee Airmen Oral History Project. Denied the right to fully participate in the U.S. war effort alongside whites at the beginning of World War II, African Americans--spurred on by black newspapers and civil rights organizations such as the NAACP--compelled the prestigious Army Air Corps to open its training programs to black pilots, despite the objections of its top generals. Thousands of young men came from every part of the country to Tuskegee, Alabama, in the heart of the segregated South, to enter the program, which expanded in 1943 to train multi-engine bomber pilots in addition to fighter pilots. By the end of the war, Tuskegee Airfield had become a small city populated by black mechanics, parachute packers, doctors, and nurses. Together, they helped prove that racial segregation of the fighting forces was so inefficient as to be counterproductive to the nation's defense.

Freedom Flyers brings to life the legacy of a determined, visionary cadre of African American airmen who proved their capabilities and patriotism beyond question, transformed the armed forces--formerly the nation's most racially polarized institution--and jump-started the modern struggle for racial equality.


Take a look at pictures from Freedom Flyers
(Click on images to enlarge)



By the end of World War II, experienced black officers had fully assumed leadership of the 477th Composite Group of Tuskegee-trained fighter and bomber pilots.
NAACP Collection, Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division.

By the end of the war the pool of civilian instructors at Moton Field had grown to more than two dozen.
U.S. Air Force Historical Agency.

Left to right: Brig. Gen. Benjamin O. Davis Sr., Col. Noel F. Parrish, and Lt. Col. Benjamin O. Davis Jr. Parrish and Davis Jr. were fortuitous choices for the leadership of the Tuskegee military flight program.
U.S. Air Force Historical Research Agency.

Pilots of the 477th fly B-25s in formation. Training African-Americans to fly and maintain the world’s most powerful and sophisticated killing machines implicitly challenged Jim Crow.
U.S. Air Force Historical Research Agency.

Members of the first class of graduates from the Tuskegee Army Flying School (TAPS) discuss flying with Robert M. “Mother” Long.
U.S. Air Force Historical Research Agency.

In this inspiring account of the Tuskegee Airmen--the country's first African American military pilots--historian J. Todd Moye captures the challenges and triumphs of these brave aviators in their own words, drawing on more than 800 interviews recorded for the National Park Service's Tuskegee Airmen Oral History Project.


Denied the right to fully participate in the U.S. war effort alongside whites at the beginning of World War II, African Americans--spurred on by black newspapers and civil rights organizations such as the NAACP--compelled the prestigious Army Air Corps to open its training programs to black pilots, despite the objections of its top generals. Thousands of young men came from every part of the country to Tuskegee, Alabama, in the heart of the segregated South, to enter the program, which expanded in 1943 to train multi-engine bomber pilots in addition to fighter pilots. By the end of the war, Tuskegee Airfield had become a small city populated by black mechanics, parachute packers, doctors, and nurses. Together, they helped prove that racial segregation of the fighting forces was so inefficient as to be counterproductive to the nation's defense.

Freedom Flyers brings to life the legacy of a determined, visionary cadre of African American airmen who proved their capabilities and patriotism beyond question, transformed the armed forces--formerly the nation's most racially polarized institution--and jump-started the modern struggle for racial equality.

The Tuskegee Airmen...

Related Scanning WWII links...

  • 19 Mar 43: 99th Pursuit Squadron is activated
  • 30 May 43: Tuskegee Airmen see their first combat action
  • 24 Mar 45: Tuskegee Airmen shoot down 3 Me-262 German jets

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