When Black leaders demanded equality and World War II demanded more skilled soldiers, the Tuskegee Airmen, or "Red-Tail Angels," became the first African American pilots to train for combat.
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.
Watch this show online now.
Stream hundreds of shows by starting your free trial to Smithsonian Channel Plus. Check the availability of this title and explore our vast library of original documentaries and series.
Access even more free Smithsonian Channel full episodes and documentaries online through participating TV providers.
Find out if your television provider carries Smithsonian Channel.
Don't panic! It's simple to upgrade to the latest version of one of these browsers:
Don't panic! To get the best possible experience on smithsonianchannel.com we recommend you upgrade your operating system.
For the best possible site experience, please use Chrome for Android.
Add username "SmithsonianChan" on Snapchat for fun and fascinating facts. We'll be sharing spontaneous photos and videos as inspiration strikes.