Black Wings: American Dreams of Flight
Oct 17, 2013 - Jan 12, 2014
Benjamin O. Davis Jr. was the son of an Army general and a graduate of West Point. Davis led the 99th Fighter Squadron of the Tuskegee Airmen and later the 332nd Fighter Group in North Africa and Italy Photo courtesy Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum.
Soar with the stories of African Americans in aviation history and discover what these American aviators achieved and what they overcame when the special exhibition Black Wings: American Dreams of Flight opens at The Haggin Museum on October 17, 2013.
Presented by the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum, Black Wings examines the contributions of some of the most important African American aviators from the past and present who helped make the dream of careers in flight and space exploration possible.
Two of the many figures presented in this exhibition are Bessie Coleman, the first African American woman to obtain her pilot’s license, and aviator William J. Powell who led an ambitious program to promote aviation in the African American community.
Divided into six sections, Black Wings chronicles the evolution of aviation through the stories of African Americans who dreamed of flight, left their mark and helped pave the way for those who would follow. Other aviators whose contributions are explored include the Tuskegee Airmen—the first military division of African American pilots who fought in World War II—and Mae Jemison, the first African American woman to fly in space.
The exhibition is based on the 2008 HarperCollins book Black Wings: Courageous Stories of African Americans in Aviation and Space History, written by exhibition curator Von Hardesty of the National Air and Space Museum.
The exhibition’s national tour is organized by the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service (SITES). The exhibition was made possible by the generous support of the MetLife Foundation.