The new exhibit in the Ethnic and Gender Studies Library is “Tuskegee Airmen, American Heroes. Established January 16, 1941.”
The exhibit focuses on a group of Americans -- men of African heritage who, with skill and integrity, illustriously served their country. Their service was segregated, but their history has records that may never be bested. Service of the Tuskegee Airmen led President Harry S. Truman to end segregation in the military in 1948 with Executive Order 9981.
Nearly fifty years after that Executive Order, this group of Americans has been honored for their service. On March 29, 2007, approximately 300 Congressional Gold Medals were bestowed on the Tuskegee Airmen (or their widows) in a ceremony in the U. S. Capitol rotunda. In addition, more than 180 Tuskegee Airmen were invited to attend the presidential inauguration of Barack Obama on January 20, 2009.
Alyce Harris and student assistant Judd Takai worked on the research and mounting of the display. Materials from Davidson main library and EGSL’s Black Studies collection were used in the exhibit.