Morton Field Hanger #1 Photo Credit: NPS
Tuskegee Airmen National Historic Site, Alabama, embodies the lives, and the spirit of the outstanding performance, of over 15,000 men and women who shared the "Tuskegee Experience" from 1942-1946. It was designated a national historic site on November 6, 1998, and after years of work, had its official grand opening on October 4, 2008.
One of the most highly respected fighter groups of World War II had to overcome segregation and prejudice to even be able to fly their missions. Before 1940, African Americans were not allowed to fly for the U.S. military. That began to change in 1941, after significant pressure from civil rights organizations and the black press resulted in the formation of an all African-American pursuit squadron based in Tuskegee, Alabama, in 1941. They became known as the Tuskegee Airmen.
To understand the historical setting into which the Tuskegee Airmen walked, it is necessary to know about the school at Tuskegee, which evolved into the Tuskegee Institute, founded by Booker T. Washington. It had a thriving aeronautical engineering program. The National Park Service (NPS) says, "Because of the Institute's flight program, the U.S. military selected Tuskegee Institute as a place to train African-American pilots for the war effort. Aviators came to Tuskegee, Alabama, to hone their flying skills. Their rigorous training at Moton Field and Tuskegee Army Air Field molded over 1,000 pilots into one of the most highly respected U.S. fighter groups of World War II." Learn the rest of the story at American Visionaries: Legends of Tuskegee.
About the national historic site
The Visitor Center offers exhibits and a small auditorium where historic films that tell different aspects of the Tuskegee Airmen Story are shown. Visitors can take weekend tours of the Hangar #1 Museum. The Ranger on duty (at 334-724-0922) will have that weekend's tour times. Times vary based on pre-scheduled group arrangements. Please note that these tours are offered on Saturday and Sunday only. An interesting place to go is the Scenic Overlook, near the Visitor Center, that gives an overview of historic Moton Field, where basic and primary flight training for the airmen took place. To understand the buildings that are seen from the overlook, visitors should pick up a free Site Bulletin at the Visitor Center.
Plan your visit to Tuskegee Airmen National Historic Site
Directions to the park including information about flying into Morton Field Municipal Airport
For more info: Tuskegee Airmen National Historic Site
The Gathering of Mustangs & Legends
Rickenbacker International Airport
Saturday September 29, 2007
In this video, watch as the remaining members of the Tuskegee Airmen are honored as well as flybys by a Red Tail P-51B Mustang. Bomber crews named the Tuskegee Airmen "Red-Tail Angels" after the red tail markings on their aircraft.