Chris Hopkins

Willa Brown, charcoal on paper, 16 x 20inWilliam Holliman, charcoal on paper

Artists Statement
The Tuskegee Airmen

During World War II, the U.S. military was racially segregated. Reflecting American society and law at the time, most black soldiers and sailors were restricted to labor battalions and other support positions. An experiment in the U.S. Army Air Forces, however, showed that given equal opportunity and training, African-Americans could fly in, command and support combat units as well as anyone. The USAAF's black fliers, the so-called "Tuskegee Airmen," served with distinction in combat and directly contributed to the eventual integration of the U.S. armed services and started a groundswell that became the civil rights movement. This was a battle fought on two fronts. One front was fought overseas against  the threat of a voracious global enemy bent on world domination. The other front was fought at home for the recognition of simple human dignity and the God given right to pursue opportunity, excellence, and the freedom of self determination. As an artist I could think of no better way to tell this story of human drama more effectively than through the universally understandable language of art.

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