By Nicole Johnson
WALTERBORO, SC (WCSC) – America’s first ever black military men are honored for their heroic service.
The Tuskegee Airmen were a group of young men who enlisted during World War II, despite it being a time when many Americans thought black men were not ready.
“They said we could not do different things because we did not have the brain capacity,” original Tuskegee Airman Leroy Bowman said.
“The first letter of rejection I received said straight out, there are no facilities to train Negroes to fly in any branch of the American military service,” original Tuskegee Airman Hiram Mann said.
Finally back in the 1940s in Tuskegee, AL there was a school where the first black men trained to join the US military, showing their equality getting jobs like pilots, aircraft mechanics, parachute riggers, officers, and more.
Some men even got combat training in Walterboro at the current site of the Lowcountry Regional Airport, which was a former army airfield.
Now South Carolina lawmakers are honoring the heroes by naming a stretch of I-95 the “Tuskegee Airmen Memorial Highway.”
They unveiled the road sign during a ceremony at Colleton County Courthouse.
“This is a wonderful way to honor the Tuskegee Airmen and preserve the legacy here in Colleton County. It’s good for the county, the state. It’s a tourist attraction. It’s a national landmark,” Rep. Robert Brown of District 116 said.
The signs will be placed at the Colleton-Hampton and Colleton-Dorchester county lines.