The Daily Life of the Tuskegee Airmen: The Lieutenant Rayner Collection by The National Air and Space Museum

In 1982, the National Air and Space Museum opened the exhibit Black Wings: The American Black in Aviation and the companion book was published the next year. The exhibit relied heavily on donations of historical photographs, including a set of black and white copy US Army Air Force photographic negatives donated by Ahmed A. “Sammy” Rayner, Jr.  These images, paired with Rayner’s remembrances of his time as a Tuskegee Airman, provide vivid examples of the daily lives of the 477th Bombardment Group and their training activities in the United States. His experiences as a Black officer and pilot later fueled his postwar political activity.

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