Warren, Lt. Col. James

Lt. Col James C. Warren2013 Sankofa Award Honoree
In the summer of 1942, James C. Warren, a 19-year-old under-privileged young black man from Gurly, Ala., read the August issue of American Magazine. An article titled “I Got Wings,” written by Second Lieutenant Charles H. Debow, touched him deeply. Debow was one of the first five black cadets to graduate at Tuskegee Army Air Field and earn his silver wings.”I was so proud; it brought tears to my eyes,” Warren recalled. “The thought of ever being a part of that program never even touched my mind.”Determined to overcome limited resources and racial discrimination, Warren went on to become one of the venerable Tuskegee Airmen. As an officer in the 477th Bombardment Group, he was one of the first 19 arrested during the “Freeman Field Mutiny” of 1945; 162 black officers were arrested for demanding lawful entry into the white officer’s club at Freeman Field, Ind. Nine years before Martin Luther King Jr. and Rosa Parks refused to obey the busing laws in Montgomery, Ala., the 477th BG was the first group to challenge a major department of the U.S. government on civil rights. (airportjournal, R.L.DalColleto) .

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