The History and Heroism of the Tuskegee Airmen is the topic of a program to be presented on Saturday, March 17th, at 2 p.m., at 297 Locust Ave., Cortlandt Manor, New York. Sponsored by The Van Cortlandtville Historical Society, the photo narrative is open free to the public.
Quincy Magwood, the Eastern Region Vice President and a senior member of the Tuskegee Airmen Board of Directors will talk on the progression of African Americans in the U.S. military from the American Revolution through the Civil War and their contributions in both World Wars. He will show a DVD film on the Tuskegee Aviation Experiment (1939-1949) and the Tuskegee Airmen and their heroic exploits during World War II. In effect, his program will show how successful the Tuskegee Aviation Experiment proved to be.
The retired U.S. Air Force Chief Master Sergeant is a “torch bearer” who works to keep the legacy alive of the Tuskegee Airmen and what they endured as African Americans during flight training and later in air battles over Europe. A charter member of the Major General Irene Trowell-Harris Chapter of Tuskegee Airmen, Inc. (TAI) in New Windsor, New York, CMSgt. Magwood is recipient of the Distinguished Achievement Award from TAI and the Gold Award for Exceptional Community Service from the Boys & Girls Community Center in Newburgh. A decorated combat veteran of the Vietnam War, he served two tours of duty with the U.S. Army 1st Air Cavalry Division. He earned his BS Degree in Public Safety from Long Island University.
Also participating in the program will be Viola Baldwin-Gaines of Cortlandt Manor, widow of the late Albert Gaines who was a captain with the Tuskegee Airmen. Illustrating with photos and memorabilia, she will relate some personal anecdotes about his service with the Airmen and his later career with IBM and his community service work in the greater Cortlandt and Peekskill area. Among his many achievements, he was influential in the integration of the New York State National Guard and was president of the Lakeland School Board. He passed away in December 2008 at the age of 85. A longtime Cortlandt resident, Mrs. Gaines worked for 18 years in Special Education in the Lakeland Central School District. She received her degrees in higher education by attending college part time for 10 years while working and raising her four children. She is currently a member of the Board of Directors of the Van Cortlandtville Historical Society.
The Little Red Schoolhouse is located at the north end of Locust Avenue in Cortlandt Manor, next to Historic Old Saint Peter’s Church and cemetery just south of Oregon Road. For more info: visit www.vancort.net; or, call 914-736-7868.
-Submitted by Bob Foley, Program Chairman, Van Cortlandtville Historical Societ