About the Panel
Hosted by ETV, Connections host P.A. Bennett moderates a forum during the 60th Anniversary for the Tuskegee Airmen. The members of the panel included:
- Lt. Colonel Spann Watson (1916-2010), Tuskegee Airman
- Lt. Colonel Hiram Mann (1922-2014), Tuskegee Airman
- First Lt. Leroy Bowman (1922-2014), Tuskegee Airman
- Master Sergeant William T. "Bill" Simmons (1922-2009), Tuskegee Airman
- Captain Taj Tory, F16 Pilot
Who are the Tuskegee Airmen?
Until the 1940s, African Americans were limited to certain roles in the military. They could not hold leadership roles and were denied skilled training in such areas as flying an aircraft. In 1941, an all African American flying squadron was established in Tuskegee, Alabama.
The purpose of this Army Air Corps program was to train African Americans to fly and maintain a combat aircraft. The people involved in this experiment acquired the name "Tuskegee Airmen." The members of this squadron were not all pilots, but some were navigators, bombardiers, maintenance and support staff, and instructors. Basically all the personnel involved in keeping the planes in the air were considered "Tuskegee Airmen."
Tuskegee Institute, founded by Booker T. Washington, was selected as the training ground for the pilots. The school had the facilities, technology and climate for training year-round with airplanes. By World War II, the Tuskegee program had expanded and become the center for African American aviation. The Tuskegee Airmen paved the way for full integration of African Americans into the U.S. military.
- Along with the rest of the world, the United States and South Carolina experienced economic instability during this period. As a result, political instability and worldwide conflict consumed the world in the 1940s. Following World War II, the United States emerged as a world leader through political policies and economic growth.
- This indicator was designed to promote inquiry into military and economic policies during World War II, to include the significance of military bases in South Carolina. This indicator was also developed to foster inquiry into postwar economic developments and demographic changes, to include the immigration of Jewish refugees following the Holocaust.
- This indicator was constructed to facilitate inquiry into how economic conditions prompted an evolution of fiscal and monetary policy featuring significant turning points. This indicator also supports inquiry into the laissez-faire policies of the 1920s, the balance of free markets and government intervention of the 1930s, and the command economies during World War I and World War II.