Tuskegee Airman

Lt. Col. Harry Stewart

Author, Soaring to Glory

He had to sit in a segregated rail car on the journey to Army basic training in Mississippi in 1943. But two years later, the twenty-year-old African American from New York was at the controls of a P-51 Mustang, prowling for Luftwaffe aircraft at five thousand feet over the Austrian countryside. By the end of World War II, he had done something that nobody could take away from him: He had become an American hero.

Lt. Col. Harry Stewart was greeted by a crowd of over 400, and several standing ovations, when he visited the Nixon Library on Monday, June 10.  Lt. Col. Stewart is one few surviving members of the famed Tuskegee Airmen, America’s first black military pilots and their support personnel. The Tuskegee Airmen are best known for the extraordinary efforts in the air war of World War II, and for challenging the stereotypes that had kept black Americans from serving as pilots in the U.S. Armed Forces.

Lt. Col. Stewart told many stories of his childhood, his service during WWII, and his life after the War. These stories and more make up Lt. Col. Stewart’s new book, Soaring to Glory: A Tuskegee Airman’s Firsthand Account of World War II

Watch the full event below: