There is no question that Tuskegee holds a special place in American history. Many people can point to this place to show just how our country came together and decided that we were going to fight a war to free others oppressed by Nazi tyranny.
That war was World War II. Black soldiers fought and engaged with enemy soldiers in the Eastern and Western theaters of the war. However, we may have fought together, but separately.
Black Americans were told in propaganda film after propaganda film that bigotry and racism were part of life. You can’t control every man’s prejudice, but you could still fight for your country. This was a chance to show that racists what Black America could do.
But what was White America ready to give back in return?
It was their Black fathers that fought in the battlefields of France against German soldiers. However, they fought under the French Tri-colour and not under the American flag. It was the governments of other nations that valued their contributions, but not their own.
Certainly, things were changing, right?
Many of those people thought that Tuskegee would be the place to finally put all of those perceptions about Black people to death. Crash and burn, as some would like to say. The first Black trainees for the Air Force would soon be accepted into training in 1939, despite the restrictive policies that were put in place to try to discourage Black fliers. However, despite the restrictions, the military received an abundance of applications from qualified Black applicants, to the surprise of the military.
Certainly something was brewing before these prestigious and college educated men were accepted into this “experimental program” as Senators and Congressmen on the Hill liked to call it. Just a few short years before, a different kind of experimental program was going on. In exactly the same place….
Black Lives Matter