Tuskegee Airmen and “Black Stars in Orbit”

9 Nov
Tuskegee Airman

War poster featuring a Tuskegee Airman

Lt. Col. Herbert Eugene Carter, one of the original Tuskegee Airmen, has died. Carter was one of an elite group of African American aviators who flew numerous successful missions during World War II. The armed forces were not only segregated at that time, but prior to World War II the Army did not accept African American pilots. This changed with the training program at the Tuskegee Institute, now Tuskegee University, in Alabama.

Documentary filmmaker, William Miles, created Black Stars in Orbit, to tell the story of African American aviators and astronauts. He interviewed Lee A. Archer who was part of the Tuskegee training program. Archer, who died in 2012, flew 169 combat missions in Europe during World War II, a huge number as most pilots flew an average of 50.
Edward J. Dwight, Jr. - Tuskegee Airman

Edward J. Dwight, Jr.

Miles also interviewed Edward J. Dwight, Jr.  for Black Stars in Orbit. Dwight did not train at Tuskegee but was part of an early astronaut training school in 1962. Identified by President Kennedy as a great candidate to become part of the Mercury Program Dwight began training at the Aerospace Test Pilots’ School at Edwards Air Force Base. He talked about his experience in the interview and how eventually after Kennedy’s assassination he was passed over for the next phase of the program.
Edward J. Dwight, Jr. in "Black Stars in Orbit"

Edward J. Dwight, Jr. in “Black Stars in Orbit”

After the tumultuous 1960s and the harassment Dwight and his wife faced in the Air Force, Dwight became a private flight instructor and eventually a sculptor. His interview for Black Stars in Orbit shows him in hist studio working on a piece as he recounts his story.
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