UVa Library Press Releases
'The Tuskegee Airmen Experience: Segregation in
the Military during WWII'
COLONEL CHARLES E. McGEE (USAF, RETIRED) AND HISTORIAN
BILL HOLTON TO SPEAK AT U.VA. FEBRUARY 21, 2002
Contact: Melissa Cox Norris at (434) 924-4254 or email@example.com
WHO: Colonel Charles E. McGee (USAF, Retired) and Historian Bill Holton
WHAT: "The Tuskegee Airmen Experience:
Segregation in the Military during WWII,"a talk
about the history of the Tuskegee Airmen and the experience
of racial segregation in the U.S. Military during
World War II.
A book signing of Tuskegee Airman: The Biography of Charles E. McGee, Air Force Fighter Combat Record Holder by Charlene E. McGee will follow the talk in the Ward Room of Maury Hall.
WHEN: Thursday, February 21 from 3:00 to 5:00
Free and open to the public.
WHERE: Maury Hall 209
February 11, 2002 - While much of white America during World War II believed black men could not serve the country as airmen, a determined group of African-Americans trained as pilots, navigators, and bombardiers at the Tuskegee Army Air Field (TAAF) in Tuskegee, Alabama. From 1942 to 1946, approximately 992 African-Americans graduated from aviation cadet classes at TAAF and received their pilot's wings. Known as the Tuskegee Airmen, 450 of them served overseas during WWII in either the 99th Fighter Squadron or the 332nd Fighter Group. Both groups garnered presidential citations for their distinguished service. Meanwhile, African-American airmen officers were often discriminated against by other soldiers who treated them as "trainees," denying them officer respect and privileges such as access to the base officers' club.
On February 21, from 3:00 to 5:00 pm in Maury Hall 209, Colonel Charles McGee, a decorated Air Force fighter pilot who flew with the Tuskegee Airmen, and Bill Holton, national historian for the Tuskegee Airmen, will share the history of the veteran flyers and the racial segregation African-American soldiers often experienced in the U.S. Military forces. A book signing of Tuskegee Airman: The Biography of Charles E. McGee, Air Force Fighter Combat Record Holder by Charlene E. McGee will follow the talk in the Ward Room of Maury Hall.
Colonel McGee, born in Cleveland, Ohio, joined the Army in October 1942 and entered Army Air Corps Flight Training in November of that year. He remained on active duty for 30 years and became a command pilot with over 6,100 total hours flown. He flew fighter aircraft combat tours in WWII, Korea, and Vietnam. Colonel McGee received numerous awards and citations including the Bronze Star and the Distinguished Flying Cross. He now lives in Bethesda, Maryland.
Holton was born in Johnstown, Pennsylvania, and volunteered for the US Navy in September 1944 and served until 1948. He received his Ph.D. from Howard University in 1979. Since 1997, he has served as the National Historian for the Tuskegee Airmen Incorporated. Holton lives in Arlington, Virginia.
"The Tuskegee Airmen Experience: Segregation in the Military during WWII" is free and open to the public. The talk is part of the University of Virginia's celebration of African-American Heritage Month and is sponsored by the University Library Multicultural Issues Committee, along with the Office of African-American Affairs, the University Housing Office, the University Equal Opportunity Programs Office, the University of Virginia Bookstore, Air Force ROTC Detachment 890, and the Corcoran Department of History.
The University Library Multicultural Issues Committee was formed in 1990 to "guide the library in its commitment to promote issues of diversity." The committee uses education, policy recommendations, and events such as the upcoming talk to increase awareness and to encourage a diverse working and learning environment.
For more information, contact Anne Causey at (434) 924-3595 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or Al Napier by phone at (434) 243-8636 or by e-mail at email@example.com. To learn more about the Tuskegee Airmen, visit the Web site http://tuskegeeairmen.org/