During the era of Jim Crow laws in America, the Tuskegee Airmen, some of whom became Red Tails, the first black pilots trained for U.S. military service, flew World War II (WWII) combat missions and helped to desegregate the American army.

When Tuskegee Institute in Alabama was chosen to train black pilots for the Tuskegee Airmen project, the Civilian Pilot Training Program had already completed aeronautical training of students by May 1940. Tuskegee’s Moton Airfield Institute was named for Robert Russa Moton, its second president, and funded by the Julius Rosenwald Fund.

There were also women providing support services at the institute for the Tuskegee Airmen.

One of those women was Maycie Herrington, a clerk at the Tuskegee Airmen Training Institute. After the war, Herrington became a member of the Tuskegee Airmen non-profit service organization. Since that time, she has spent most of her adult life collecting, organizing and preserving historic documents and photographs concerning the history of the Tuskegee Airmen, a group that produced a fearless group of WWII air warriors, the Red Tails, getting this name when the black pilots painted the tails of their aircraft red to distinguish their planes from others.

In 2007, President George W. Bush presented Maycie Herrington, about 300 surviving members of the Tuskegee Airmen and other support personnel Congressional Gold Medals for their service to WWII and the United States of America.

The adventures of this heroic group of fighter pilots is so amazing that George Lucas devoted a quarter-century of his life raising funds to produce the action movie, Red Tails, telling the story of this era of Jim Crow laws. 

The heroism of the Tuskegee Airmen went much deeper than flying airplanes over a burning and bombed-out Europe. Their heroism extended into personal safety in their own army due to racism and discrimination that existed on their homeland.