Documentary Movie

Wings for This Man (1945)

The film begins with dramatic footage of aerial combat over Italy, showing an outnumbered American squadron successfully dogfighting a Luftwaffe formation. When the pilots land they step out and are revealed to be black.

The picture then tells the story of the Tuskegee Airmen, starting with the Tuskegee Institute in Alabama and the founding of the airstrip near it. The narrator notes that the airmen had to overcome exceeding odds to get the unit created and notes that “there was misunderstanding, distrust and prejudice that had to be cleared away” before the unit could form. A rather standard training/combat/casualty sequence then follows, culminating in the third anniversary celebration of the unit followed by a parade.

While not explicitly mentioning racism the narration does go further than most wartime propaganda stating that “one thing was proved here: that you can’t judge a man by the color of his eyes or the shape of his nose” and that “these men were pioneers, and pioneers never have it easy”.

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