Browse Photographs (52 total)

Col. Benjamin O. Davis Jr. in the cockpit of his P-51. On January 29, 1944, Davis was sent to Italy as Commander of the 332d Fighter Group.

Black stunt pilots and parachutists, such as Willie “Suicide” Jones, performed at air shows in the 1930s. This poster, “Mammoth Air-Show,” advertises a show in Illinois.

This flyer announces an exhibition of Booker T. Washington, the airplane flown by Dr. Albert E. Forsythe and C. Alfred Anderson in their 1934 South American Goodwill Flight, which showcased the skills of black aviators.

This publicity flyer for William J. Powell’s book Black Wings underscored his vision (“One Million Jobs for Negroes”) for blacks in aviation.

African American youth shared the widespread enthusiasm for aviation, often aspiring to be pilots or mechanics. Powell captured that dream in this cartoon, which appeared in Craftsmen Aero News.

Hubert Julian, showman and promoter of black aviation, points to a billboard announcing his appearance in a “Colored Air Circus” in Los Angeles in 1931.

William J. Powell, who served in a segregated unit during World War I, wears his Army uniform. Powell tirelessly promoted the cause of black aviation in his book Black Wings, his journals, and through the Bessie Coleman Flying School, which he…

Maj. James Ellison, base commander, returns the salute of Mac Ross as he reviews the first class of Tuskegee cadets on the flight line in 1941. Ellison, unsupportive of the Tuskegee program, was replaced by Lt. Col. Noel F. Parrish. As base commander…

Bessie Coleman was awarded her pilot’s license in 1921 by the Fédération Aéronautique Internationale. She trained in France because no American flight school would accept her as a student.

In 1932 James Herman Banning and Thomas C. Allen completed the first transcontinental flight by black aviators.