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Ten Legendary Tuskegee Airmen to Visit the Houston Public Library at The African American Library at the Gregory School

Panel Discussion – Wednesday, October 24 at 6 PM

Houston Public Library (HPL) invites the community to meet a few of the surviving legendary Tuskegee Airmen during a visit at HPL’s African American Library at the Gregory School. This visit will take place on Wednesday, October 24, 2012 at 6 PM, where they will be special guests for a panel discussion that will focus on their challenges and triumphs that they faced as the first African-American aviators in the United States armed forces during World War II. Along with the panel discussion, visitors also can view the Library’s exhibit The Tuskegee Airmen: The Segregated Skies of World War II, now through January 5, 2013 honoring the airmen’s legacy. The event and the exhibit are free and open to the public. The African Library at the Gregory School is located at 1300 Victor Street, 77019.

For more details visit: www.houstonlibrary.org or call 832-393-1440.

Ten Tuskegee Airmen will be visiting HPL for the panel discussion event. They are now in their 80s and 90s, but enlisted while in their teens and 20s. This is a unique opportunity to meet and greet these brave and honored world-class pilots who, despite having to endure discrimination and other challenges, still fought for their country. The airmen that will be at HPL include: Claude Platte, Ed Tillmon, James Sheppard, Buford Johnson, Alex Jefferson, Richard Jennings, Nancy Leftenant Colon, James Pryde, Larry Brown Jr., and Dr. Luzine Bickham.
About the Tuskegee Airmen
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 subject 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 old equipment. Despite these hardships they trained, flew with distinction and proved to be world class pilots.

The Airmen flew 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,” because the bombers considered their escorts “angels” and also because of the red paint on the propeller and tail of their planes. Due to the Tuskegee Airmen’s success, President Truman integrated the armed forces in 1948.

About the Exhibit – The Tuskegee Airmen: The Segregated Skies of World War IIThis is a traveling exhibit provides an overview of the challenges and triumphs of the Tuskegee Airmen. It also honors General Oliver Davis Jr. who was the commander in chief of the airmen and the first General in the Air Force earning his four stars in 1998. The exhibit was created by The Museum of History and Holocaust Education at the Kennesaw State University. HPL’s exhibit is now open through January 5, 2013 and is free and open to the public.

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 www.houstonlibrary.org or call 832-393-1313.

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