In this inspiring account of the Tuskegee Airmenthe country's first African American military pilotshistorian 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 Americansspurred on by black newspapers and civil rights organizations such as the NAACPcompelled 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 forcesformerly the nation's most racially polarized institutionand jump-started the modern struggle for racial equality.
About the Author
J. Todd Moye is an Associate Professor of History and the Director of the Oral History Program at the University of North Texas. A historian of the American civil rights movement, he directed the National Park Service's Tuskegee Airmen Oral History Project from 2000 to 2005. He consulted on Double Victory, the Lucasfilm documentary about the Tuskegee Airmen.
Table of Contents
Prologue: "This is Where You Sit"
Chapter 1: The Use of Negro Manpower in War
Chapter 2: The Black Eagles Take Flight
Chapter 3: The Experiment
Chapter 4: Combat on Several Fronts
Chapter 5: The Trials of the 477th
Chapter 6: Integrating the Air Force
Epilogue: "Let's Make it a Holy Crusade All Around"
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