Sins of Omission

The Tuskegee Airmen

If you think political correctness is a recent phenomenon in America, then the longtime promulgation and perpetuation of distortions and falsehoods concerning the Tuskegee Airmen should disabuse you of such a notion.

The very creation of the group was an attempt by President Franklin Roosevelt to showcase blacks in the war effort, which was dominated by white men, and exclusively so in the air.  While Butch O’Hare, Colin Kelly, Jimmy Doolittle, and Joe Foss were making headlines in 1942, blacks were nowhere to be seen.  People today forget that, until the multiple presidencies of FDR, blacks were not solidly wedded to the Democratic Party.  If nothing else, FDR was a shrewd political strategist, and cultivating the growing urban black vote with a highly publicized black air wing was a p.r. coup.  Unfortunately, it was also the beginning of misinformation and distortions about the Tuskegee flyers that have been repeated so often and for so long that the nonsense now passes for fact.

The most glaring falsehood says the fighter pilots of the Tuskegee Airmen, while escorting American bombers, never lost a bomber to enemy aircraft.  This claim first appeared in a black-oriented publication, Liberty Magazine, in its March 10, 1945, issue.  The claim was repeated in a black newspaper, the Chicago Defender, on March 24, 1945.  In reality,...

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