American Social History Project • Center for Media and Learning

“They Said It Couldn’t Be Done!”

Published May 18, 2009

Roscoe C. Brown, Jr., The Graduate Center, CUNY
“They Said It Couldn’t Be Done, But the Tuskegee Airmen Did It”
The Graduate Center, CUNY
February 27, 2009

Educator Roscoe C. Brown, Jr. shares his personal history of race in the United States as seen through the perspective of World War II. Dr. Brown describes incidents of discrimination and social injustice that propelled him into a life of activist politics. Brown recounts his upbringing in black middle-class Washington in the 1920s and 30s, and his involvement in anti-lynching campaigns and demonstrations in the years leading up to World War II. Locating his experience in the context of the struggle to attain equality for African Americans in the military, he describes the lasting accomplishments of the Tuskegee Airmen- “America’s first African-American military flying unit”-for which Brown served as commander of the 100th Fighter Squadron of the 332nd Fighter Group.

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