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Thu, 03.09.1922

Rosco Brown, Tuskegee Airman born

Rosco C. Brown

*Rosco Brown was born on this date in 1922. He was a Black educator and military hero in WW II.

From Washington D.C., Rosco C. Brown's parents took him to see the Spirit of St. Louis hanging from the Smithsonian ceiling, which interested him in aviation as a child. During the 1930s, aviation was burgeoning, and when World War II started, the Black press and the Black community wanted Blacks to be able to fly because, in 1925, the military had done a study that said that Blacks didn’t have the intelligence, ability, or coordination to fly airplanes.  The pressure from the NAACP and the press caused the military to start an experimental group that was to be trained in Tuskegee, Alabama, and that’s why they were known as ‘The Tuskegee Airmen.’ They went to colleges and recruited the best leaders and athletes to be Tuskegee Airmen.

When Brown was attending Springfield College in Springfield, Mass., in his junior year, he was valedictorian of his class. He had already earned a commission as an infantry officer at 18 because they had R.O.T.C. in high school. He resigned from my commission, signed up to be a Tuskegee Airman, trained in Tuskegee, and got his wings in 1944. Brown did combat training in Walterboro, South Carolina, went overseas, and flew combat until the end of April when the war ended.

After the war, Captain Brown resumed his education. His doctoral dissertation was on exercise physiology, and he became a professor at New York University and President of Bronx Community College.  In 1992, Brown received an honorary doctor of humanities degree from his alma mater Springfield College.

On March 29, 2007, Brown attended a ceremony in the U.S. Capitol rotunda, where he and the other Tuskegee Airmen collectively were awarded the Congressional Gold Medal in recognition of their service. He was also a member and past president of the 100 Black Men of America, New York Chapter, and a professor of Urban Education at the CUNY Graduate Center. Rosco C. Brown Jr. resided in Riverdale, New York, when he died on July 4, 2016.

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