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On April 12, 1945, the United States Army Air Force arrested 101 of its African American officers. They were charged with disobeying a direct order from a superior officer—a charge that could carry the death penalty upon conviction. They were accused of refusing to sign an order that would have placed them in segregated housing and recreational facilities. Their plight was virtually ignored by the press at the time, and books written about the subject did not detail the struggle these aviators underwent to win recognition of their civil rights. The central theme of Double V is the promise held out to African American military personnel that service in World War II would deliver to them a double victory—a "double V"—over tyranny abroad and racial prejudice at home. The book's authors, Lawrence P. Scott and William M. Womack Sr., chronicle for the first time, in detail, one of America's most dramatic failures to deliver on that promise. In the course of their narrative, the authors demonstrate how the Tuskegee airmen suffered as second-class citizens while risking their lives to serve their country. Among the contributions made by this work is a detailed examination of how 101 Tuskegee airmen, by refusing to live in segregated quarters, triggered one of the most significant judicial proceedings in U.S. military history. Double V uses oral accounts and heretofore unused government documents to portray this little-known struggle by one of America's most celebrated flying units. In addition to providing background material about African American aviators before World War II. the authors also demonstrate how the Tuskegee airmen's struggle foretold dilemmas faced by the civil rights movement in the second half of the 20th century. Double V is destined to become an important contribution in the rapidly growing body of civil rights literature.
Chronicles America's first African American military pilots, who fought againt two enemies, the Axis powers of World War II and Jim Crow racism in the United States.
Across black America during the Golden Age of Aviation, John C. Robinson was widely acclaimed as the long-awaited “black Lindbergh.” Robinson’s fame, which rivaled that of Joe Louis and Jesse Owens, came primarily from his wartime role as the commander of the Imperial Ethiopian Air Force after Italy invaded Ethiopia in 1935. As the only African American who served during the war’s entirety, the Mississippi-born Robinson garnered widespread recognition, sparking an interest in aviation for young black men and women. Known as the “Brown Condor of Ethiopia,” he provided a symbolic moral example to an entire generation of African Americans. While white America remained isolationist, Robinson fought on his own initiative against the march of fascism to protect Africa’s only independent black nation. Robinson’s wartime role in Ethiopia made him America’s foremost black aviator. Robinson made other important contributions that predated the Italo-Ethiopian War. After graduating from Tuskegee Institute, Robinson led the way in breaking racial barriers in Chicago, becoming the first black student and teacher at one of the most prestigious aeronautical schools in the United States, the Curtiss-Wright Aeronautical School. In May 1934, Robinson first planted the seed for the establishment of an aviation school at Tuskegee Institute. While Robinson’s involvement with Tuskegee was only a small part of his overall contribution to opening the door for blacks in aviation, the success of the Tuskegee Airmen—the first African American military aviators in the U.S. armed forces—is one of the most recognized achievements in twentieth-century African American history.
• 16 original documents relating to the creation and performance of the Tuskegee Airmen during World War II, each accompanied by a brief description that provides historical context • 28 short biographies of black aviation and military pioneers, important people among the Tuskegee Airmen, as well as several of the Airmen themselves • A comprehensive bibliographic description of major secondary works on the Tuskegee Airmen, World War II, airpower, and black participation in the American military • A glossary of specialized terms pertaining to the military, aviation, World War II, and African Americans
The century-long struggle to achieve equality for America's black soldiers and sailors, in a stirring narrative history by the author of Root and Branch
World War II was crucial in the development of the emerging Civil Rights movement, whether through the economic and social impact of the war, or through demands for equality in the military. This period was characterized by an intense transformation of black hopes and expectations, encouraged by real socio-economic shifts and departures in federal policy. During the war, black self consciousness found powerful expression in new movements such as the "Double V" campaign that linked the fight for democracy at home for the fight for democracy abroad.

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