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Alec Pellerin
6/4/08
D
Letter to the Past

Dear Benjamin O. Davis Jr.,

During this unit I studied a very wide subject which also means that the time period that was included was also very broad. It was mostly from the end of the Civil War, through World War 1, and right through World War II. This probably lasted about 80 years. This time period shows and represents many different issues that had been won and fought for Civil Rights. In particular, this unit was mostly about racial and segregation problems against African Americans in the Military schools and also on the battle field. This time period was a time of great change, hate, love, proudness, differences, and the ability to be proud and brave. There were many people who were able to contribute to this problem and they also made a major impact. Some of these people were like you, they started with the military at a young age and tried to start to make a difference. Also some of the other significant people in this Civil Rights movement, had started as already commanders, colonels, and some as sergeants and lieutenants that have just showed and made things happen during war, but still made the same amount of change and help for these people as the other African Americans did when they started earlier. Also many of these people where the start of this change with the Harlem Hell-fighters. The Harlem Hell-fighters were just before you guys at Tuskegee, but there were still very similar people and changes that happened in World War 1 as there was in World War II. During World War 1 there were many people that supported the Harlem Hell-fighters, and there were a lot of people who actually fought the changes and helped the people of their same race. One person that had helped the cause was James Reese Europe. When he went to war he was the regiment band leader for the soldiers. He showed the new type of music, jazz, to all the people in Europe. He was also lieutenant for the Harlem Hell-fighters, not just a music leader. Another man that was apart of the Harlem Hell-fighters, 369th Infantry, was Henry Johnson. he was known mostly for his heroism with Needham Roberts. to show his heroism he had single-handedly fought a group of German soldiers with only a knife and won, and saved one of his comrades. Now there were probably a lot of people that you would probably know. One person that I will explain is someone that you graduated with and got your first wings with. His name is Coleman A. Young. Also another graduate of the Institute that you might recognize is a name that is very significant to this topic. His name is Daniel James Jr. He went to Tuskegee Institute and also he joined the Air Amy Corps and was commissioned as second lieutenant on July, 1943. These were just some of the people that you might know and may be friends with that helped you on your long journey through this problem and to change it.
As you probably might know you are very significant, and helpful to this project and also to the change of this problem in the military and also in combat. This is just saying that you played a major role in this Civil Rights movement. One thing that you have done was you became the first African American military officer in United States history to be made a major general. This shows that all you need is confidence and you will get that far in something that you want, and that you love to do. Also you became the first African American graduate of the United States Military Academy in nearly 50 years. In World War 11 you earned the Distinguished Flying Cross. Also you were the first general of the new World War 11, Tuskegee Airmen. During World War II, you were commander of the 332nd Fighter Group, which escorted bombers on air combat missions over Europe. You by yourself flew in sixty missions which is a lot of help for your soldiers and they will always remember you. As you might know you have done a lot more that makes you stick out in this topic, these are just some of things that you have done as an individual that makes your work significant to the topic.

American society has drastically changed in good ways and also in some bad ways. But one thing that is good about this topic is that the change from the past to the present is very good. There are many things that are the same that represent the proudness of people today towards what had happened back in your years that you have served, but there also have been changes that have helped the equality for African Americans. One change is that now the whole entire Military unit is now all integrated. This shows how much not just blacks, but people who believed in the same things, wanted the president to sign the Executive Order. They pushed and pushed until they couldn’t push anymore, and finally stood up to their rights and then got the president to sign the Order. They did many things in order to fight for their rights. One thing was from the teachings of Gandhi. He thought to fight without violence and he got very far in his life. This is also what, not just blacks in the military but also just people in general, did in order to get their rights intact. This action was also followed up by Martin Luther King Jr. This action gets people very far and we can now tell that now in the present day because of how much of a good change there has been in civil rights problems. One thing that has actually not changed but is still showing respect to the African Americans in the military is they kept the red tips on the tails of the planes in the 99th. This shows that they still never forgot and they knew that some of them wouldn’t be there if it wasn’t for some of these men.
There are many differences you made with the help of your fellow military workers in order to have all your rights back and put back in order. This civil rights topic couldn’t be the help of only one person but of a wide variety of people with the same problem that can use their individual strengths to help this cause. Even though other people helped you with this problem you made a huge dent in the changing of this right wall. One thing that you did was you were brave enough to actually enter this academy. When you did this you were a huge and pretty much first role model for other African Americans to enter anything that was segregated and fight has hard as you can for your rights. Another thing that you did was when you graduated and was called to help command the Tuskegee Airmen. This is probably a notice from a white servicemen and that is showing a lot. This is showing that whites didn’t want to say it but they knew that they needed your help and the help of the other African American soldiers to do specific and helpful things for the military. The last thing that you did was you fought in combat and you showed a side of African American soldiers that the white serviceman didn’t know existed. This shows them that they need you and anyone who enters any Military Academy. Lastly mostly others in your unit or others that were in wars before World War 11 did similar things to you and started the base of the help and it started to grow and grow until the Executive Order was signed.

I have learned a lot about this country that I never knew before from this project, and this topic in general. One thing that I learned from doing this unit was that in this country we still have a lot of respect towards these amazing people and we would and will do as much as we can to support them even if it is to keep some of their old past times up to date, like the red on the tips of the wings. Also I learned our country is whiling to remember and give respect towards these men during my time, which is much later. Just last year President Bush awarded the Tuskegee Airmen with medals of honor. Lastly I have learned and was amazed of how much our country, the United States of America, has changed over that vast amount of time. I learned from this how far segregation has gone even though some of the segregated things, if people would join, actually would help out our country as a whole.
During this time we have spent on this unit I have actually changed as a person in many good and different ways. During this time researching, and learning about the most amazing sorts of people it has meant a lot to me and I feel now that these men, even though a different race, can be role models to anyone that looks up to you and believe the way you do. One thing that has changed about me is the support and the proudness I give to these men. I think that they have done an amazing thing for their race, but also for this country in general. Also another thing that has changed about me is the respect that I now will give to people who are different then me. I will just remember this and it will help me get far in the future.
In the future I will do many things to help out this cause. One thing that I will do is support this civil rights movement as much as I can. I will do many things in order to help these men and future military workers. Another thing that I will do to support this cause in relation to my topic is to join and hopefully donate money to organizations that will help. I will do many other things in the future, and these are just a few. I am proud of what these people have done and I think that people in present day should support their duty.