Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Meeting a real Tuskegee Airman!

Saturday, I autographed my book She Flew Bombers at the Second Annual Mustang/Warbirds at the Nut Tree Airport. I sold 24 books! People loved looking at my scrap book about the Women Airforce Service Pilots.
The highlight of my day was meeting Lt. Col. James C. Warren, (86 years old) a "real Tusgegee Airman." The first thing the Lt. Colonel said to me was, "I won't buy your book, there were no black women in the WASPs." I responded, "I know, Director Jackie Cochran turned down a black woman pilot, Willa Brown because of the segregation laws back then. She told Ms. Brown that she was obviously qualified but knew she would have too much trouble staying in various hotels while "hopscotching" across the U.S. ferrying planes. Mrs. Cochran said she was sorry and was impressed that Ms. Brown had been trained by the famous black aviator, Bessie Cole.
The Lt. Col. came back to my booth a few hours later and much to my surprise we traded books! He wrote a book, The Tuskegee Airmen, Mutiny at Freeman Field. Which I will talk about in my blog next week.


  1. Hi Jeane,
    Thank you for bringing this topic up. I can't imagine what it would have been like to be African American in the early 1900's. To be turned away from a job because of the color of skin is an outrage. There is still a lot of racism happening; Conscious and unconscious. The other day my boss indicated that she would not go to a dentist because the dentist had a name she could not pronounce. (It was an Asian name) She said it to a group of employees. I did not know how to handle it. One of my co-workers suggested that I ask my boss what did she mean by the comment. That way I wouldn't incite animosity by confronting my boss. In the end I let it go. Which is why racism exists. Many of us let the incidences go and don't say anything. Ok, now I have more to think about for myself. Thanks for bringing up the harder topics.

  2. Amy: It is so inspiring when someone's story makes one think about their own life. History can be powerful!

  3. Hey Jeane,
    That's a great story about meeting one of the Tuskegee Airmen. They were quite a group. They flew with distinction and honors, and several rose to high ranks in the Air Force. Probably unknown to many of your readers and bloggers is the fact that Rosa Parks was born in Tuskegee in 1913. She's one of the principal characters in my book; Our Southern Home: Scottsboro to Montgomery to Birmingham - The Transformation of the South in the Twentieth Century. Your book has sure made an impact!

  4. I also recently heard that the government did some horrible medical experiments with the Tuskegee airmen who came to doctors concerned if they had any stds. They didn't really treat a "sub group" so they could study their decline!
    It was a compliment to your knowledge of the discrmination against black women that the airman came back to your table.
    Got to eat and rest. Sivani