Blue Skies, Black Wings: African American Pioneers of Aviation

Overview

At the age of seventeen, Samuel L. Broadnax, enamored with flying, enlisted and trained as a pilot at the Tuskegee Army Air Base.

Although he left the Air Corps at the end of the Second World War, his experiences inspired him to talk with other pilots and black pioneers of aviation. Blue Skies, Black Wings recounts the history of African Americans in the skies from the very beginnings of manned flight.

From Charles Wesley Peters, who flew his ...

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Overview

At the age of seventeen, Samuel L. Broadnax, enamored with flying, enlisted and trained as a pilot at the Tuskegee Army Air Base.

Although he left the Air Corps at the end of the Second World War, his experiences inspired him to talk with other pilots and black pioneers of aviation. Blue Skies, Black Wings recounts the history of African Americans in the skies from the very beginnings of manned flight.

From Charles Wesley Peters, who flew his own plane in 1911, and Eugene Bullard, a black American pilot with the French in World War I, to the 1945 Freeman Field mutiny against segregationist policies in the Air Corps, Broadnax paints a vivid picture of the people who fought oppression to make the skies their own.

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Editorial Reviews

Choice
“Broadnax provides a long-needed book. . . . He tells what it was like to be an African American man of courage and skill in the racist south and U.S. Army of that time. . . . Broadnax paints a clear picture of how those young men earned their commissions as second lieutenants in the U.S. Army Air Force of more than six decades ago. Their story is well worth reading now. . . . Highly recommended.”—Choice
Booklist
“[Broadnax’s] own love of flying is evident in his recollections of the rarefied status of flying in the early days, and his own personal struggle to garner the experience for himself despite the racial limitations of the time.”—Booklist
From the Publisher

"Broadnax offers personal recollections and firsthand accounts of the famed Tuskegee Airmen during World War II and the broader social and racial struggle represented by these black men….He vividly recalls the struggle to desegregate the military during World War II and the hardships suffered by the airmen who wanted to serve and fly. Broadnax's own love of flying is evident in his recollections of the rarefied status of flying in the early days, and his own personal struggle to garner the experience for himself despite the racial limitations of the time. A unique report resource for advanced readers."

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Booklist

"Inspired by a childhood interest in flight, Broadnax enlisted in the Army Air Corps at the age of 17. He graduated from Tuskegee Army Air Base in March 1945 as a fighter pilot, becoming one of the celebrated Tuskegee Airmen. In this text, he employs skills from his subsequent career as a newscaster and journalist to research and recount the history of African Americans involved in aviation, particularly during the first half of the 20th century, including Charles Wesley Peters, who flew his own plane in 1911; Eugene Jacques Bullard, the first African American combat pilot and one of 200 Americans who flew for France in WWI; and the 1945 Freeman Field fight against segregationist policies in the Air Corps. For aviation enthusiasts and historians."

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Reference & Research Book News

"Broadnax provides a long-needed book….[h]e tells what it was like to be an African American man of courage and skill in the racist south and US Army of that time….The Tuskegee Airmen helped edge their country a little close to its self-proclaimed image, as did many other whites and African Americans. Broadnax paints a clear picture of how those young men earned their commissions as second lieutenants in the US Army Air Force of more than six decades ago. Their story is well worth reading noW….Highly recommended. General readers; lower- and upper-division undergraduates; two-year technical program students"

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Choice

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780803217744
  • Publisher: University of Nebraska Press
  • Publication date: 10/1/2008
  • Pages: 208
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Samuel L. Broadnax graduated from Tuskegee Army Air Base with Class-45A in March 1945 as a fighter pilot. One of the celebrated Tuskegee Airmen, he was assigned to the 332nd Replacement Training Unit. He later attended Yuba College, Howard University, and the University of California, Berkeley, and has worked as a newscaster and journalist. In 2006 the Tuskegee Airmen were awarded the Congressional Gold Medal of Honor.
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Table of Contents


Foreword   Alan M. Osur     ix
Preface     xi
Abbreviations     xiii
The Early Days     1
Breaking the Barrier     17
Training Begins     35
The Selection Process     48
Learning to Fly     61
Making Changes     79
Fighter Training     96
Changing Cockpits     113
Combat     126
Bomber Pilots     142
Notes     163
Bibliography     173
Index     175
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