When you visit the Tuskegee Airmen National Historic Site, you’ll learn the history of the ‘Red Tails’, the first Black military pilots, who trained at Moton Field in Tuskegee Alabama. The fighter and bomber pilots that trained at the Tuskegee Institute and their entire crews (navigators, mechanics, instructors, nurses, cooks, etc which included women) were given the name Tuskegee Airmen and fought in World War 2 as the 99th Fighter Squadron and the 332nd Fighter Group. The 332nd Fighter Group were given the nickname ‘Red Tails’ after painting the tails of the P-47s.
The men and women of the Tuskegee Airmen fought two wars, one for victory in the war and one against the discrimination they faced. The Tuskegee Airmen were influential in World War 2, and they also impacted America’s culture of segregation and Jim Crow laws, helping change the future of Black Americans.
A Visit to Tuskegee Airmen National Historic Site
The historic site is made up of two areas. An outdoor exhibit portion is open daily from 8 am to sunset while the indoor exhibits, Hangar 1 and Hangar 2, have more limited hours.
Outdoor Exhibits include a scenic overlook of Moton Field and many exhibit placards that share the history of the Tuskegee Airmen. You’ll also be able to see outlines of the original buildings from the 1940s
Hangar 1 and 2 include a variety of interactive exhibits and short films. Hangar 1 introduces visitors to the Tuskegee Airmen with a short orientation video. The rest of the building focuses on the training process of the Tuskegee Airmen. Two World War 2 era propeller planes are on display as well as a flight simulator used for training. Hangar 2 discusses the Tuskegee Airmen’s involvement in World War 2 as well as the fight for full acceptance as American citizens. The centerpiece of the hangar is a full-size replica Red Tail plane suspended from the ceiling.
Children will also enjoy working through a Junior Ranger booklet during their visit to the hangars. And who wouldn’t want a Junior Ranger badge with a plane on it?
Continue Your Day in Tuskegee Alabama
After visiting the Tuskegee Airmen National Historic Site at Moton Field, you can continue the day at the George Washington Carver Museum or the Tuskegee Institute National Historic Site, both just a few minutes away in the center of Tuskegee, Alabama.
Books about the Tuskegee Airmen
We always love to accompany our travels with books about the places we visit. Our kids are always so much more excited to see a place if they’ve already learned about it from the books we’ve read. Here are three books we really enjoyed:
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The Tuskegee Airmen Story by Lynn M. Homan
Who Were the Tuskegee Airmen? by Sherri L. Smith
Wind Flyers by Angela Johnson