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Tuskegee Airmen National Historical Museum

A tribute to Black military airmen or red tails in southwest Detroit

The Tuskegee Airmen, the first black military airmen who fought in World War II, broke racial barriers in the military and the country, and the museum honoring them is located in Detroit.

The airmen escorted bombers and were often recognized by the red tails on their planes. They flew over 200 missions and only lost about 25 bombers, says Brian Smith, president of the museum.

"No one else has or can ever match the perfection that the Tuskegee Airmen did," Smith says.

The museum opened in 1987 after some Tuskegee Airmen—a few from Detroit—discussed the need for a museum, and sees about 4,000 visitors a year, Smith says.

The museum has photographs showing the history of black aviation before and after the war at the museum, and they own an aircraft the airmen used in training, Smith says. Smith flies historic planes and teaches youngsters how to fly, too.

"These airmen are heroes in two respects," Smith says. They "bravely" fought in the war, but also "paved the way for the civil rights movement."

The museum tries to stay open 11 a.m.-3 p.m. It's closed on Tuesdays.

Visit The Tuskegee Airmen National Historical Museum at 6325 W. Jefferson Ave., Detroit.

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