African American Aviators

According to aerodynamic principles the bumblebee should not be able to fly. The bumblebee, not knowing this, goes ahead and flies.

In 1925 the War Department declared that African Americans lacked the basic skills and qualifications to learn to fly.

This exhibit shows how this conclusion was disproven by four Arizona residents who, like other African Americans, entered the field of aviation early and made great contributions. They were:


Janet Bragg

Roy Comeaux

Fred Archer

Vernon Haywood


Four interns from the African American History Internship Project, jointly sponsored by Pima Community College and the Arizona Historical Society, interviewed Arizonans who, like the bumblebee, went ahead and flew. These and other pioneers overcame discrimination and paved the way for African Americans in the field of aviation. The collection of oral histories, entitled "African Americans in Aviation in Arizona," is also available.

For interviews and photographs we thank: Frances Archer, Janet Bragg, Roy Comeaux and Vernon Haywood.

The interns in the spring of 1989 were: Robert Beverly, Deborah Jones, Joan Rogers, and Carolyn Daniels. Dr. Harry Lawson was the Project Coordinator.


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