Several original Tuskegee Airmen are in St. Louis for the 42nd annual Tuskegee Airmen Incorporated convention being held through Saturday. The pilots and ground crew were known for being trained in Tuskegee, Ala. and flying during World War II.
As president of the St. Louis-based Hugh J. White chapter, Clara White has been dedicated for several years to preserving the legacy of her husband, who flew during the war, as well as other airmen and flight personnel.
“It’s a dying institution so we have to start now letting the people know that even after they’re gone we’re going to have to say they did exist," White said. "But they’re gone now. They’re all in their nineties, so we have to keep that legacy going.”
Initially unaware of her husband’s participation, she has worked to carry on the legacy since after his death in 1979.
“It wasn’t in our history books," White said. "They paved the way for these young people that are coming behind them now to be able to do what they want to do and accomplish something while they’re in the service.”
The purpose of the chapters is to ensure that the airmen’s legacies are carried on for future generations. Tomorrow the Convention will host a Youth Day focused on aviation for students between 11 and 17 years old. There are nearly 60 chapters across the United States.
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