Thursday, May 3, 2012
FREE KINDLE E-BOOK ALERT: The Separate and Unequaled RedTails: Race Relations in the AAF During WWII by D Bridges
The Separate and Unequaled RedTails: Race Relations in the AAF During WWII by D Bridges
In this book some things will surprise you, others may make you laugh or mad and the rest you'll shake your head at. But one thing is for sure - the Red Tails overcame it.
African Americans simultaneously fought two wars and won both. In 1942, as the United States entered World War II, Hitler ruled the skies in Europe and Jim Crow ruled the lives of blacks in the United States.
The best of black youth poured into Tuskegee, Alabama in the early 1940s when the Army Air Force very reluctantly opened pilot training to blacks. They became the "Tuskegee Experiment", the effort to train black pilots during World War II. This experiment was supposed to fail as many white officers believed that blacks did not have the skills necessary to become pilots.
The Tuskegee Airmen proved them wrong and also succeeded in overcoming obstacles raised by the white officers who were vehemently opposed to the experiment to begin with. Black pilots (in particular those of the 332nd Squadron) went on to establish stellar records in combat. Because of their desire for equality and the determination of a few white officers who believed in them, they disproved the myths about blacks' inability to fly and many other things.
With the decision to begin daylight bombing over Central Europe, the men of the 332nd were assigned escort duty for the B-17s and B-24s undertaking those bomb runs. Shepherding their 'babies' on those long, perilous journeys from Italy to Central Europe and back, they earned the reputation of never losing a bomber they escorted to enemy aircraft. Very grateful bomber crews who had the Red Tails as escorts knew they had a very good chance of getting home alive. Although the record of the 99th was outstanding, it was hidden behind prejudice.
Their racism will have you shaking your head in disbelief at the way whites thought about, treated and behaved towards blacks. In some cases,though sad, you will laugh out loud at the extremes they go to to maintain an old tradition (nearly 300 years) and a way of life that was clearly not working anymore. As Clint Walker replied in an episode of his old TV show Cheyenne when an over-bearing major yelled at him, "Mister, I wouldn't treat a mule that way", so to will you be thinking as you read this book.
Blacks were not accepting the second class citizenship that the Jim Crow Laws were forcing upon them. Laws that claimed to be separate but equal were anything but that. Nor did they miss the irony of the war propaganda which emphasized the racist and undemocratic character of the Axis powers having you believe that such things didn't and couldn't happen here in the U.S.
Blacks weren't stupid, as the whites of that time thought, they knew that sooner or later they would be able to make that final push for their freedom. In fact, blacks were quite intelligent in how they carried out their mission. While they won their freedom, it still took many years to gain it.
Thus begins the 'Red Tail' legend and African Americans freedom from segregation.
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