What became known as the Tuskegee Experience began in 1931 with a letter from the head of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People to the War Department asking that blacks be allowed to join the military. The efforts of early African American aviators, the struggle of organizations and individuals against the military's segregation policies, and the hard work of thousands of young men and women, military and civilian, black and white, all combined to make the Tuskegee Airmen an important but often overlooked part of America's military history.
Through fascinating interviews with veterans and historical photographs, Black Knights is the story of the men and women who served in the training program at Tuskegee Army Air Field from 1941 to 1946. The pilots' stories are here, but so are the experiences of the mechanics, band members, armorers, staff officers, nurses, and more that proved that they had courage and perseverance, not only in war, but in peacetime as well.
Between 1941 and 1948, black airmen trained at a segregated facility in Tuskegee, Alabama, in a social experiment that eventually led to the opening of the armed services to black men and women. What became known as the Tuskegee Experience was the culmination of 10 years of struggle by civil rights groups to get the War Department to allow blacks to serve in the military. The hard-fought victory fell substantially short of the real objective--an integrated armed service. Still, the Tuskegee airmen secured a significant place in American and black history for bravery in service on and off the battlefield. Through interviews with Tuskegee airmen and their families, as well as archival research, Homan and Reilly convey the organizational and personal struggles behind the Tuskegee Experience. Homan and Reilly detail the training and war missions of the black airmen, hardships overcome in Europe as well as at home. This is a treasure of photographs and recollections of an important part of American history. Vanessa Bush
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Authors Lynn M. Homan and Thomas Reilly bring extensive experience in historical research, writing, and creative design to their work. They have written thirteen books together, including Black Knights: The Story of the Tuskegee Airmen and The Tuskegee Airmen Story, both available from Pelican Publishing. Their work has been featured in such publications as the North Carolina Historical Review and in exhibits in several museums.