Balboa Park

‘Integral to the History of Us': Heroics of Tuskegee Airmen on Display at San Diego Air & Space Museum

Exhibit dedicated to the nation's first African American aviators is permanently on display in Balboa Park

NBC Universal, Inc.

The silver plane with a red tail rests along a back wall of the museum, surrounded by old photographs and paintings dedicated to the men who piloted planes like it during World War II.

It’s an exhibit at the San Diego Air & Space Museum in Balboa Park honoring the Tuskegee Airmen, the first group of African American military aviators.

“This is fantastic,” smiled museum visitor Georgia Kelly. “American heroes. That’s exactly what they were.”

The 88-year-old Kelly was only a girl when the Tuskegee Airmen were flying over Europe and North Africa.

“It gives me a sense of pride because being a Black person, I know what we have done and what we can do,” said Kelly. “They gave them a chance, they gave them a job to do, and they did it.”

“It’s integral to the history of us, the history of the United States,” added Jim Kidrick, the museum’s president and CEO. “I think it’s important for us to look at it inspirationally, aspirationally.”

“We believe there are future greatest generations,” concluded Kidrick.

Kelly agreed. The Temecula woman said the Tuskegee Airmen should still inspire all Americans, regardless of race.

The Tuskegee Airmen exhibit and African American Hall of Fame are permanently on display at the Air & Space Museum, which is open seven days a week in Balboa Park.

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