During a time in America when Jim Crow laws were still in place in much of the country, the Tuskegee Airmen defeated all odds. Nearly 1,000 African American aviators successfully completed their training and entered the Army Air Corps before the end of segregation.
It may not surprise you that African Americans faced racial discrimination in the military during the 1940s. Blacks were widely considered unfit to serve based on key military leaders' presumptions that African American men lacked the intelligence, courage and patriotism to serve their country. While the U.S. Constitution guaranteed "equal protection of the laws for all persons," segregation was in full swing and The Supreme Court still allowed the "separate, but equal" treatment of Jim Crow laws. Harry S. Truman didn't desegregate the military until 1948, and Rosa Parks wouldn't refuse to give up her seat to a white passenger for another seven years after that. In this social climate, it's amazing that these airmen were able to do what they did.