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Big Sandy hosts presentation on Tuskegee Airmen in commemoration of Black History Month

The Office of Cultural Diversity at Big Sandy Community and Technical College (BSCTC) held a presentation on the Tuskegee Airmen by Historian Ron Spriggs on Wednesday, February 15 in the Gearheart Auditorium on the Prestonsburg campus of the college.  

The Tuskegee Airmen have ties to eastern Kentucky.  In 1948, Harry T. Stewart, Jr., a member of the Tuskegee Airmen, crashed his plane near the Johnson County community of Van Lear. 

Frankie Cantrell, of Van Lear, attended the presentation at BSCTC and carried a photo of her and Stewart, who visited the town in 2005. 

Spriggs, an eight-year veteran of the United States Air Force, started displaying exhibits and giving lectures in 2002 as an independent means of preserving the history and legacy of the Tuskegee Airmen.  The Tuskegee Airmen are not just black history, but American history. 

The Tuskegee Airmen were the first black aviators to serve in the United States Army Air Corps., flying with distinction during World War II.  Though subject to racial discrimination both home and abroad, the 996 pilots and more than 15,000 ground personnel are credited with some 15,500 combat missions and earned 96 Distinguished Flying Crosses for their achievement.  The group paved the way for the eventual integration of the United States Armed Forces under President Harry Truman in 1948.