Tuskegee Airmen Essay Prompt

Tuskegee Airmen Essay Prompt-47
Understandably, the black activists felt betrayed that FDR had, arguably, “stabbed them in the back” after appearing “receptive” to the idea of integration.After listening to his advisers’ gruesome predictions of race riots in an integrated army, Roosevelt had apparently concluded that the initiation of segregated black combat units was the best policy, and would be enough to satisfy the black population.With the rise of fascism and the need for an adequate defense becoming ever more apparent, most political and military leaders felt that the armed forces was no place to conduct racial or social “experiments,” and that to train African Americans for combat—let alone put them into the same units as white servicemen—would create situations destructive to morale and detrimental to combat efficiency.

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marked the fiftieth anniversary of Executive Order 9981, the order declaring that “there shall be equality of treatment and opportunity for all persons in the armed forces without regard to race, color, religion, or national origin.” In issuing this order in July 1948, President Harry Truman reversed the segregation policies previously installed in the American military.

This landmark event in the civil rights movement owed much to the war-time achievements of the Tuskegee Airmen, the African American fighter pilots of the United States Army Air Corps who fought in the Mediterranean Theater during World War II. Yet, they still managed to come through the war with a highly distinguished combat record. Such heroic accomplishments in the face of adversity proved the “ Tuskegee Experiment” a success and set the stage for Truman’s Executive Order 9981.

As the rest of this article will make clear, one could argue that this branch of the armed forces never fully approached the “ Tuskegee Experiment” with an unbiased attitude; the Air Corps’ official interactions with the Tuskegee units at all administrative levels were plagued with neglect, indifference, and outright racism.

The Tuskegee “experiment” forged ahead, nevertheless, at a segregated Army Air Field in Tuskegee, Alabama.

In a memo of May 31, 1940, he recommended against any training of Negro pilots for combat duty, whether in integrated or segregated units within the Army Air Corps (see Document A).

Wright My Assignments - Tuskegee Airmen Essay Prompt

According to Arnold, the possibility of having Negro pilots (officers) serving over white enlisted men would “create an impossible social problem,” while it was not feasible to organize an “all Negro Air Corps unit” in time for the needed mobilization.

Viewing the War Department’s plan as an insult and a step in the wrong direction, White and Randolph continued to lobby (but in vain) for integrated training and service units.

At the same time, Air Corps officials remained reluctant to entertain the notion of a black fighter squadron, despite the conditions set forth that it train and operate separately from white units.

They protested what they saw as a meager government “handout” intended to placate African American voters, and verbally blasted FDR for a government press release implying that White, Randolph, and Hill had approved of the segregated unit system (see Document B).

The Administration’s “compromise” failed to appease either black activists or the Army Air Corps.


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