Defending Freedom, Defining Freedom

The Tuskegee Airmen, Combating Discrimination

From the Collection

Tuskegee Airmen continued to combat discrimination within the U.S. military even after they received their training. In 1945 at Freeman Field in Seymour, Indiana, base commanders segregated the Officers Clubs and ordered all African American officers on base to sign a statement affirming their acceptance of the discriminatory order. More than 100 black officers refused and were court martialed for disobeying a direct order. In the face of outside pressure, most of the men were released, but three Tuskegee Airmen were placed on trial. Two were fined and freed, but one, Lt. Roger Terry, was found guilty, and dishonorably discharged. This decision stood until 1995 when President Bill Clinton pardoned Terry, restoring his lost rank as well as removing the reprimands placed in the files of the other officers.

Explore More in Our collection