Aviators deserve praise - The Suffolk News-Herald

In any discussion of the history and achievements of blacks in the United States, the Tuskegee airmen deserve heartfelt praise.

Sgt. Harry Quinton, one of the original Tuskegee airmen, received a standing ovation on Saturday at the Morgan Memorial Library as he lectured on the history and achievements of the Tuskegee airmen.

Before 1940, blacks in the US military were excluded from flight plans. Shortly before the start of US involvement in the Second World War, the civil rights organizations and the black press campaigned for the cause, and soon formed a program for a purely black pursuit squadron in Tuskegee, Ala. The military chose the Tuskegee Institute for pilot training because of its commitment to aeronautical training, the fact that the facilities and instructors and climate for year-round flying already existed, tuskegeeairmen.org.

The program eventually trained hundreds of pilots, navigators, bombardiers, maintenance and support personnel, trainers and other personnel who kept the planes and pilots in the air.

However, the Tuskegee airmen had to overcome segregation and prejudice both during and after their service. Officers were reprimanded for trying to use the officers' club at one of their bases. Some soldiers were released after they got out. And these were just a few cases of discrimination the soldiers experienced, Quinton told the library assembly on Saturday.

The history of the Tuskegee airmen is indeed a great and rich one, but unfortunately it is not well known.

We encourage everyone to learn about the Tuskegee planes during Black History Month. We guarantee that you learn something new and get inspired.