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The Tuskegee Airmen: Soaring Towards a Double Victory

Preanka Pillai and Adithya Paramasivam Junior Division Group Website

Process Paper A War Veterans Quest, a New York Times article that we read months before in language arts class, helped us arrive upon a topic for this years theme in one of our brainstorming sessions. This article, which was about a missing African American pilot in the 1940s, led us to the famous Tuskegee Airmen. We soon realized that the Tuskegee Airmens double struggle would best fit the theme of rights and responsibilities. We started researching by visiting the Marlboro library, where we found secondary sources on our topic and a book filled with interviews of Tuskegee Airmen, which aroused our interest. Before, we assumed they were wary of Jim Crow laws, but we discovered that they attempted to protest against segregation, such as in the Freeman Field Mutiny. Online, we found the Tuskegee Airmens website, the Veterans History Project, broadcasts, photographs, and newspapers from the Library of Congress and the National Archives. From these primary sources, we learned about the Double V Campaigns effect on black soldiers and the integral role of the black press. One of the highlights of our journey was interviewing two Tuskegee Airmen, Victor Ransom and Charles McGee who described their training experiences and the discrimination they faced. We also interviewed Dr. Henry Louis Gates, the author of What Was Black Americas Double War? and Dr. Ruth Jackson, the director of the Tuskegee Airmen Archive who gave us their insight into the African American experience and the impact of the black press on that experience. From the research we gathered, we concluded that the Tuskegee Airmen and the Double Victory Campaign changed peoples perspectives of African Americans and gained soldiers growing equality. When browsing through the presentation categories, we wanted to find a project that would fit our abilities and would present our research effectively. The website category was the

perfect option, since the technology enabled us to work on the project at various times and include different forms of media. We divided the pages and worked on them simultaneously, pitching ideas to one another as we viewed each others pages. The Tuskegee Airmen and the Double V Campaign fit in this years topic of rights and responsibilities. Despite the fact that they had the responsibility to fight for America, the Tuskegee Airmen were denied equal rights. These men faced Jim Crow laws in almost every base they traveled to throughout the United States, and it was clear that reform was needed. The Pittsburgh Couriers Double V Campaign, a precursor to the Civil Rights Movement, was a catalyst in advocating for rights for African Americans and desegregating the military. The supporters of the campaign had the responsibility of organizing events to fight segregation while sending supplies to soldiers abroad. The participants efforts earned the Tuskegee Airmen as well as other black soldiers the right to be integrated. Their being denied rights and their sense of responsibility motivated African Americans to protest against segregation, leading them a step closer to equality.