David James, the noted civil rights advocate and member of the World War II African America Tuskegee Airmen, passed away at the age of 92 on July 23. He was my upstairs neighbor. In 2012 Mr James gave me permission to video record and publish these conversations with him. They are reproduced here to honor him and the causes he served.
“Mud and Squalor” is the nick name of the US Army Air Corps base out of which in 1943 David James and his mentor, Carroll Langston, flew P-51 single engine, pursuit aircraft during World War II. Mr. James talks about his experiences, and how one day his friend flew out and simply did not return. Mr. James also speaks about his experiences being trained to fly in Tuskegee, Alabama, and what happened once he got to Beri, Italy, and other theaters of war in Europe in 1943. This interview is in two parts. Part I [immediately below] is about Mr. James’s experiences as one of the celebrated Red Tails. Part II [second in line below] is about his experiences growing up in the African American (“Negro”) enclave of West Woodlawn, Chicago, and life in a time of “racially restrictive covenants”. Not to be missed.
And here is Part II
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