Black Wings

Black Wings

For early aviators, conquering the forces of gravity was a daunting challenge. But black aviators had an additional challenge - conquering the forces of racism. Meet the men and women who took to the skies throughout the 20th century, proving to a segregated nation that skin color doesn't determine skill level. From biplanes to commercial jets, and from barnstormers to war fighters, meet the path-breaking pilots who opened the skies for all -- and contributed in countless ways to the development of aviation.

Black Wings: Sneak Peek

From the barnstorming era through World War II and into the jet age, the worlds of aviation and race relations intersect in these fascinating stories of courage and innovation.

There's MORE to the story. Discover the inspirations, see the artifacts and meet the experts of the Smithsonian Institution.

  • Visit the Online Exhibit to Learn More about Red Tails, Barnstormers and More

    Delve deeper into the inspiring stories of the early black pioneers of aviation who learned to fly despite formidable obstacles.

    Connect to Smithsonian: National Air and Space Museum

  • Visit the Black Wings Traveling Exhibit at a Museum Near You

    Organized by the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service and the National Air and Space Museum, Black Wings: American Dreams of Flight is a traveling exhibition that chronicles a powerful group of Americans that emerged to challenge racial obstacles and create their own legacy in the world of flight.

    Connect to Smithsonian: Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service