Essay Example on Tuskegee Airmen and Perception of African Americans

Published: 2022-12-18
Essay Example on Tuskegee Airmen and Perception of African Americans
Type of paper:  Essay
Categories:  Race World War 2 Racism American history
Pages: 6
Wordcount: 1524 words
13 min read

Over a long period, African Americans were viewed by European scholars to be backward and illiterate. The African Americans were looked down upon not to be smart, intelligent and sharp. They were only a source of workforce and labor to the American plantation. Despite the contrary view, African Americans still thrived on being productive members of society. As a result, in the fight to be established and be a significant taskforce in the nation, there was the emergence of the Tuskegee Airmen who considerably changed the view of how the Americans perceived African Americans. They were knowledgeable and smart with great abilities which the Americans had never witnessed (Bryant, 2018). Their enormous contribution to the American U.S Army Air force changed the way Africans Americans were perceived.

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First, Tuskegee Airmen is a popular name of a group of the African American military pilots who were both fighters and bombers that participated in World War II. They were training at Tuskegee Army Airfield in Alabama during the Second World War. The group comprised of 332nd fighter group and also the 477th Bombardment group of the United States Army Air force. The group was made up of navigators, instructors, bombers, crew chiefs, nurses, mechanics, and other supporting personnel. All these people worked together as a group which contributed to their success in servicing in the U.S Army. The group was responsible for the change in how the Americans viewed Africans- Americans with their outstanding work and abilities.

The Tuskegee Airmen were able to change how Americans perceived Africans; they were educated, men. Education was not meant for the blacks especially in America. However, the Tuskegee men to give their absolute best were able to train and learn at the University of Tuskegee. Illustratively, the black pilots in the U.S Army attended their training at Moton Field. In able to effectively do their work, they were exemplary and did well to be able to perform their duty. It is important to note that the group was made up of African-Americans from different races. The group had five Haitians from the Haiti Air Force, one pilot who came from Trinidad and also included a Latino airman born in the Dominican Republic. All these men were from different African Americans races and were well educated and competent to perform and carry out their duties as per the requirements. This contributed to how the Americans started to look up to the Africans-Americans.

Also, before the emergence of Tuskegee Airmen, there was no African American who had been a U.S military pilot, during 1917, Africans Americans who tried to become aerial observers were rejected. One African American Eugene Bullard served in the French air service during World War I because he was not allowed to be in the American unit. As a result, those that were racially rejected motivators of World War I continued to advocate and hoped to be allowed to serve and train as military aviators. The efforts were made by some people who continued to spread and rally for the assimilation of African Americans in the U.S Army Forces. The Tuskegee Airmen became the first African- Americans who took part in the U.S forces. They were able to earn the opportunity and played a significant role in participating in World War II. Thus, it is these Tuskegee airmen who contributed to how the Americans were able to perceive and look at the black Americans. Their induction and involvement as first African- Americans to the U.S Army was the beginning of a new dawn for the blacks in Americans.

According to Bryant (2018), the Tuskegee Airmen were able to prove that African- Americans were intelligent men. In stark contrast, it was always believed that African Americans were illiterate and were not brilliant. However, this was able to change in the 1940s when the U.S Army realized they had a shortage of military pilots in their army. The Tuskegee Airmen in Alabama were qualified and involved in high military training. The U.S Army had a selection policy that favored the white men over the blacks, but with the pending pressure from the war and need for men to take action, the plan was reviewed, and they started to receive applications from the Africans Americans. For instance, the U.S Army Air Corps had established some units to conduct cadet training at Maxwell Army Air Field, Alabama, Montgomery, and other groups across the U.S (Bush, 2016).

The units were responsible for the selection, identification, educating and training of military pilots, navigators, and bombardiers. The psychologists in the training units were able to employ the use of the first standardized tests to help quantify IQ, ability as well as leadership qualities in a person for the positions mentioned above. At Tuskegee, the effort of training and selection continued to take place. The war department was able to set up a system to accept those with higher experience, high sense of intelligence and education for the available positions. Most able and intelligent African-Americans were able to pass the standardized and IQ test to join the forces. The Americans were amazed at how smart and brilliant the men were. In the end, the question of how Americans were able to view the black Americans was started receiving a different perspective and approach. The Tuskegee Airmen also impacted on how Africans Americans were considered by the Americans with their exceptional war skills and abilities. Tuskegee men were able to produce outstanding performance and capabilities (Bush, 2016).

According to Hunter and Rollins (2015), on 11th September 1941, the activation of the 99th Pursuit Squadron was done at Chanute Field in Rantoul, Illinois. Notably, the skills that were being trained were termed to be a little bit more complicated and technical and setting up of segregated classes was quite impossible. A small number of the Tuskegee men were enlisted to take part in the training which was a success and they were able to form the foundation of other black squadrons in Tuskegee and Maxwell field in Alabama. The program was the founding point of the Tuskegee program which was started in June 1941. The program began at Tuskegee University with a unit of 47 officers and 429 enlisted men who had back up from the entire army. From the above, the Africans- Americans proved to be smart and were able to take part in high technical training successfully (Wettemann, 2013). It earned them recognition and respect from their fellow countrymen who had a negative perspective about them.

Similarly, in the quest to have a respectful opinion and recognition, the Tuskegee Airmen were also able to give an impression that was termed not only as high profile but also heroic. The Tuskegee Airmen were able to form a robust and lethal army that had well trained and reliable personnel. The African Americans were previously used in farm plantation and as a source of cheap labor and workforce (Wettemann, 2013). When they hit the army fields, these men were strong in battlefields and were able to endure survival tactics and seemed more of help than a liability. Naturally, black men are of strong athlete bodies. They were ready to leave a legacy with their heroic fight during World War II. They were able to form one of the most famous and robust armies to ever exist in the World War. The ability to fight and conquer enemies and survive on the battlefield contributed to a good profile. As a result, after the end of the war, the African- American from the Tuskegee Airmen were able to receive respect, admiration for their significant role that was used in the battle (Bryant, 2018). Americans for a moment were able to see how perfect and ready these men contributed in and out of the war. They immediately received equal treatment and opportunities.


In conclusion, the story of the African American is wide and long about history. From the slave trade to the emergence of new trends. The black Americans have fought a tough fight to gain their position in society. The Tuskegee Airmen were able to lay out a channel for the Americans to have a different view of how they look at Africans Americans. In the end, the Tuskegee Airmen were able to prove that Africans Americans were smart, brilliant, and intelligent and deserved equal chance and opportunity just like the whites. It also paved the way for the Africans Americans to get more chances to join the American forces. The Tuskegee men were able to change vividly the plight and position of how the Black American was looked at by Americans.


Bryant. (2018, December 6). An Analysis of Housing Distress and Remedies in Tuskegee, Alabama during World War II. Retrieved from

Bush, E. (2016). You Can Fly: The Tuskegee Airmen by Carole Boston Weatherford. Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books, 69(8), 443-443. doi:10.1353/bcc.2016.0305

Hunter, A. G., & Rollins, A. (2015). We Made History: Collective Memory and the Legacy of the Tuskegee Airmen. Journal of Social Issues, 71(2), 264-278. doi:10.1111/josi.12109

Wettemann, R. P. (2013). Freedom Flyers: The Tuskegee Airmen of World War II. Oral History Review, 40(1), 228-230. doi:10.1093/ohr/oht014

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