Black History Month program celebrates the Tuskegee Airmen in Mount Airy

Hadas Kuznits
February 23, 2019 - 9:00 pm

Hadas Kuznits/KYW Newsradio


PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) -- In celebration of Black History Month, three of the original Tuskegee Airmen participated in a panel discussion at New Covenant Church, in Mount Airy.

Eugene Richardson explained how he was just 19-years-old when he became a part of the Tuskegee Airmen just two months before the end of WWII. 

"I'm extremely proud right now,” Richardson said. “At the time, we didn't realize the history that we were making, the barriers we were breaking. We just wanted to prove that we were able to do everything that every other guy did, regardless of the color of our skin."

During WWII the United States military was not only segregated, but the only place black men were able to train to be combat pilots was in Tuskegee, Alabama. Once given a chance to fly though, the Tuskegee airmen did extremely well:

"Enemy fighter planes were not able to penetrate and get to the bombers and shoot them down when we were escorting them,” he explains. 

After the war, the airmen were awarded the Congressional Gold Medal and President Harry Truman desegregated the military.

"They issued an executive order 8891, which in effect said there shall be no more discrimination in the military," he added.