Roscoe Brown will march with pride in the Inauguration Day Parade in Washington. For 86 years this New Yorker has fought battle after battle against what he calls “the stupidity of racism.” This will be the ultimate day in a lifetime of helping to break down barriers. Brown and about 330 of his fellow pilots and ground crew members who still live have been invited to attend the inauguration of the first black president, Barack Obama.
Brown, a professor and former president of Hostos College, will be wearing the black cap of the Tuskegee Airmen, the African-American men who fought for America in World War II. They were trained to fly at the Tuskegee Institute in Alabama. They had to confront the Jim Crow practices of the south even as they were educated to fly fighter planes in combat at a segregated institution.