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Learn about African American history at museum

  • Published
  • By Sarah Swan
  • National Museum of the U.S. Air Force

Black History Month is approaching, and 2016 marks a special anniversary for the U.S. Air Force. World War II’s famous Tuskegee Airmen mark their 75th anniversary this year, and the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force is just the place to commemorate the group.


The museum opened an expanded Tuskegee Airmen exhibit in its World War II Gallery in 2015. The exhibit features a Stearman PT-13D training aircraft, in addition to photos and documents, as well as artifacts such as Col. Edward Gleed’s flight jacket, Maj. Charles Hall’s Distinguished Flying Cross, and objects from Lt. Col. Charles DeBow, one of the first five pilots to graduate from Tuskegee.


For those looking to introduce younger children to these WWII heroes, the museum’s Education staff created a lesson plan on the Tuskegee Airmen for students in grades 2-4.


You can also listen to a self-guided audio tour that guides visitors through the Early Years and World War II Galleries, pointing out prominent black aviators and significant milestones in Air Force history. In addition to featuring the Tuskegee Airmen, audio files highlight Eugene Jacques Bullard, the first black military pilot; Engineer Aviation Battalions in WWII; the integration of the Air Force; and other African American aviation pioneers.


Links to all of these features, along with more videos, lectures, educational resources and exhibit text related to African Americans in the U.S. Air Force and its predecessor organizations are available at


Finally, the Air Force Museum Theatre will kick off its Living History Film Series on Feb. 20 with an event commemorating the 75th anniversary of the Tuskegee Airmen. Beginning at 4 p.m., the theatre will screen In Their Own Words: The Tuskegee Airmen, which tells the story of America’s first squadron of African American pilots. Complete with emotional interviews, rare photographs and computer-generated recreations, the film chronicles the Tuskegee Airmen story from the rocky start in 1941 to their acceptance of the Congressional Gold Medal in 2007. A panel discussion featuring Lt. Col. (Ret.) George Hardy, one of the youngest pilots of the group, producer Bryan Williams, director Denton Adkinson and others associated with the project will follow the screening. Tickets are available at the theatre’s ticket counter for $10 ($8 for museum Friends Members) or by calling (937) 253-4629. The theatre is operated by the Air Force Museum Foundation, Inc., a Section 501(c)(3) private, non-profit organization that assists the Air Force in the development and expansion of museum facilities. The Living History Film Series is sponsored by Texas Road House and the Boeing Co. (No federal endorsement implied.)


The National Museum of the U.S. Air Force, located at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base near Dayton, Ohio, is the world’s largest military aviation museum. With free admission and parking, the museum features more than 360 aerospace vehicles and missiles and thousands of artifacts amid more than 19 acres of indoor exhibit space. Each year about one million visitors from around the world come to the museum. For more information, visit

NOTE TO PUBLIC: For more information, please contact the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force at (937) 255-3286.

NOTE TO MEDIA: For more information, please contact Sarah Swan at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force Public Affairs Division at (937) 255-1283.