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Opening of Historic Exhibits at the Houston Public Library

Experience the history of heroism through images of the Tuskegee Airmen of World War II and the first ten years of Rice University’s founding. These important and historic moments of our time are presented by the Houston Public Library. The exhibits are free and open to the public.

For more details visit or call 832-393-1313.

Opening Exhibits:

The Tuskegee Airmen: The Segregated Skies of World War II
Saturday, September 15, 2012 – January 4, 2013
Houston Public Library African American Library at the Gregory School
1300 Victor St., 77019, 832-393-1440

This exhibit depicts the history, challenges, triumphs, and heroism of the airmen who began training in a segregated program at Tuskegee Army Air Field in 1941. It is a traveling exhibition from Kennesaw State University. The exhibit features historic images from the Library of Congress, the National Archives, and the Tuskegee University Archives. The exhibition was created by The Museum of History and Holocaust Education at Kennesaw State University.

The Tuskegee Airmen were the first African American military aviators in the United States armed forces. They became known as the “Tuskegee Airmen” because many of them received their primary, basic, and advanced pilot training in the city of Tuskegee, Alabama. During World War II, African Americans in many U.S. states were still subjected to racism and segregation.

Much of the federal government, including the American military, was also racially segregated and the Tuskegee Airmen were subjected to racial discrimination, both within and outside the army. They trained in overcrowded classrooms, airstrips, and with old equipment. Despite these hardships they trained, flew with distinction, and proved to be world class pilots.

The Airmen flew fighter escort missions and proved that African Americans could fight and protect as well as any other U.S. pilot or soldier. From these missions the men earned the nickname “Red Tail Angels” since the bombers considered their escorts “angels” and had red paint on the propeller and tail of their planes. In part because of the Tuskegee Airmen’s success, President Truman integrated the armed forces in 1948.

Rice Institute: Planning, Constructing, Opening, and the First Ten Years
Saturday, September 29, 2012 – November 17, 2012
Houston Public Library Julia Ideson Building
550 McKinney, 77002, 832-393-1662

“Houston now boasts one of the greatest foundations ever established in the history of the world, one that is to endure for all time and expand with the ages. It is to the welfare of this generation and all others to follow to which the Rice Institute and all its works are forever dedicated. It will give to the Houston of the future thousands of men and women of greater culture, broader vision, steadier ideals, swifter and keener judgments, greater efficiency and truer conceptions of duty and life than this generation can boast.” With this statement, from an October issue of the Houston Post in 1912, rings the bell for the newly opened Rice Institute.

Rice Institute, later renamed Rice University, has maintained its reputation as one of the most highly accredited institutions in the country since its opening one hundred years ago. This exhibition will reflect on the processes put into its being founded and the first ten years of educating. The exhibition is in collaboration with Rice University and the celebration of its centennial.

About the Houston Public Library
The Houston Public Library (HPL) operates 35 neighborhood libraries, three HPL Express Libraries, a Central Library, the Houston Metropolitan Research Center, the Clayton Library Center for Genealogical Research, The African American Library at the Gregory School, and the Parent Resource Library located in the Children’s Museum of Houston. Serving more than 4 million customers per year, HPL is committed to excellent customer service and equitable access to information and programs by providing library customers with free use of a diverse collection of printed materials, and electronic resources, Internet, laptop and computer use, and a variety of database and reference resources with live assistance online 24/7.

For further information, visit the Houston Public Library at or call 832-393-1313.

Sandra Fernandez
Manager of Public Relations
Houston Public Library
832.393.1381; cell 713.435.9448

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