New exhibit on legendary Tuskegee Airmen opens Nov. 17 at KSU

Benjamin O. Davis and Edward Gleed, 1945

History museum, Tuskegee University collaborate to depict black pilots of segregated WWII era…

Georgia (Nov 12, 2009)History museum, Tuskegee University collaborate to depict black pilots of segregated WWII era

KENNESAW, Ga. (Nov. 12, 2009) — The story of the celebrated Tuskegee Airmen — the first African-American pilots to fly in combat during World War II — is told in a new exhibit that opens Nov. 17 at Kennesaw State University with a public reception at 12:30 p.m. at KSU Center.

The exhibition, titled “The Tuskegee Airmen: The Segregated Skies of World War II,” depicts the history and heroism of the airmen who began training in a segregated program at Tuskegee Army Air Field in 1941. It is a collaborative project of KSU’s Museum of History and Holocaust Education and public history students who served as curators with assistance from the Tuskegee University Archives and the Tuskegee Airmen National Historic Site, both in Tuskegee, Ala., and the Atlanta branch of the Tuskegee Airmen, Inc.

The 10-panel exhibit features historic images from the Library of Congress, the National Archives and the Tuskegee University Archives, including many photos by renowned photographer Toni Frissell. The display presents the broad history as well as intimate portraits of the more than 1,000 pilots who trained over five years. As a result of their heroic combat missions and the service of more than 16,000 support personnel, President Harry Truman was influenced to integrate the military in 1948.

The Tuskegee Airmen exhibit is the latest in a series of permanent and traveling exhibits created by the Museum of History and Holocaust Education to capture the history of World War II and the Holocaust.

“With this exhibit, we saw an opportunity to serve our K-12 audiences, for whom the Georgia Performance Standards include the history of the Tuskegee Airmen,” said Catherine Lewis, MHHE director, associate professor of history and coordinator of KSU’s Public History Program. “This project provides a wonderful opportunity to honor the history and bravery of the Tuskegee Airmen, promote diversity, build character and encourage respect, while highlighting an important era in history whose message continues to have broad implications today.”

Following its display at Kennesaw State through Jan. 9, 2010, the Tuskegee Airmen exhibit will be available free to schools, libraries, museums and other venues. Its first scheduled stop is the Auburn Avenue Research Library in Atlanta, where it will be exhibited Jan. 10 through February 28, 2010.

“We are delighted that the Tuskegee Airmen Inc. has supported this project, and we look forward to the exhibition traveling to venues at which they speak,” Lewis said. “This has all come about as a result of a wonderful series of partnerships between KSU faculty, especially assistant professor Jennifer Dickey, who came up with the idea, and her Museum Studies class, historic sites and museums, university archives and those most intimately associated with the Tuskegee Airmen’s legacy.”

For more information on the Tuskegee Airmen’s exhibit or other Museum of History and Holocaust Education programs and projects, visit or call 678-797-2083


A leader in innovative teaching and learning, Kennesaw State University offers undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degrees to its nearly 43,000 students. With 11 colleges on two metro Atlanta campuses, Kennesaw State is a member of the University System of Georgia. The university’s vibrant campus culture, diverse population, strong global ties and entrepreneurial spirit draw students from throughout the country and the world. Kennesaw State is a Carnegie-designated doctoral research institution (R2), placing it among an elite group of only 6 percent of U.S. colleges and universities with an R1 or R2 status. For more information, visit