Blue Skies, Black Wings
African American Pioneers of Aviation
by Samuel L. Broadnax
January 2007, 208pp, 6 1/8x9 1/4
1 volume, Praeger

Hardcover: 978-0-275-99195-1
$55, £43, 48€, A76
eBook Available: 978-0-313-08360-0
Please contact your preferred eBook vendor for pricing.

A history of African Americans in aviation from the beginnings through the Tuskegee Airmen and their Double V struggle against discrimination, based on oral histories.

At the age of 17, Samuel L. Broadnax—enamored with flying—enlisted and trained as a pilot at the Tuskegee Army Air Base. Although he left the Air Corps at the end of the Second World War, his experiences inspired him to talk with other pilots and black pioneers of aviation. Blue Skies, Black Wings recounts the history of African Americans in the skies from the very beginnings of manned flight.

From Charles Wesley Peters, who flew his own plane in 1911, and Eugene Bullard, a black American ace with the French in World War I, to the 1945 Freeman Field mutiny against segregationist policies in the Air Corps, Broadnax paints a vivid picture of the people who fought oppression to make the skies their own.


CHOICE 2007 Outstanding Academic Title, January 1, 2007


"Broadnax provides a long-needed book....[h]e tells what it was like to be an African American man of courage and skill in the racist south and US Army of that time....The Tuskegee Airmen helped edge their country a little close to its self-proclaimed image, as did many other whites and African Americans. Broadnax paints a clear picture of how those young men earned their commissions as second lieutenants in the US Army Air Force of more than six decades ago. Their story is well worth reading now....Highly recommended. General readers; lower- and upper-division undergraduates; two-year technical program students"—Choice, August 1, 2007

"Inspired by a childhood interest in flight, Broadnax enlisted in the Army Air Corps at the age of 17. He graduated from Tuskegee Army Air Base in March 1945 as a fighter pilot, becoming one of the celebrated Tuskegee Airmen. In this text, he employs skills from his subsequent career as a newscaster and journalist to research and recount the history of African Americans involved in aviation, particularly during the first half of the 20th century, including Charles Wesley Peters, who flew his own plane in 1911; Eugene Jacques Bullard, the first African American combat pilot and one of 200 Americans who flew for France in WWI; and the 1945 Freeman Field fight against segregationist policies in the Air Corps. For aviation enthusiasts and historians."—Reference & Research Book News, May 1, 2007

"Broadnax offers personal recollections and firsthand accounts of the famed Tuskegee Airmen during World War II and the broader social and racial struggle represented by these black men....He vividly recalls the struggle to desegregate the military during World War II and the hardships suffered by the airmen who wanted to serve and fly. Broadnax's own love of flying is evident in his recollections of the rarefied status of flying in the early days, and his own personal struggle to garner the experience for himself despite the racial limitations of the time. A unique report resource for advanced readers."—Booklist, April 1, 2007

"A must read for any aviation enthusiast or historian."—Tim Muise, Publisher of Wings Magazine
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