Tuskegee Airmen Help Old Court Middle School History Day Take Flight


Just as a new Hollywood blockbuster, “Red Tails,” debuted in movie theaters, two members of the subject of that movie – the Tuskegee Airmen – helped inaugurate the first History Day at Old Court Middle School on January 25.
Designed to make history come alive for students, History Day engages students in the discovery of the historic, cultural, and social experiences of the past.

Two Tuskegee Airmen -- Dr. Cyril O. Byron, Sr., who served with the U.S, Army Air Force 99th Fighter Squadron, 332nd Fighter Group, and Lemuel Arthur Lewie, Jr., who served with the U.S. Army Air Force 477th Bomber Group – were among the first African-American military pilots to fly for the United States armed forces and flew more than 250 bomber escort missions into Germany during World War ll without losing a single bomber to enemy aircraft fire. 
“I thought this would be an ideal time to expose our students to living history,” said Old Court Principal Kyria Joseph. “We work so hard each day to make meaningful connections for students. Both Dr. Byron and Mr. Lewie live in the Old Court community, and we wanted to celebrate them and expose our students to the rich history and legacy led by these men’s lives.”


Dr. Byron and Mr. Lewie spoke to students about their experiences as Tuskegee Airmen and their careers after the war.  After the war, both airmen became prominent educators in Baltimore.  Dr. Byron served on the faculty of Coppin State College for 23 years and was an administrator for nine years at Baltimore City Community College.  Mr. Lewie, who is president of Lewie Consolidated Enterprises, was a teacher at Carver Vocational-Technical High School for 28 years.

Their visit to Old Court was the highlight of the school’s day-long schedule of lectures, presentations, and discussions held in Old Court’s World Cultures classes. Additional topics of these educational sessions included Medieval and Military History, Jewish Culture and Traditions, African-American History (Benjamin Banneker and Frederick Douglas), and exploring careers in county government and environmental protection.

Story by Kyria Joseph, Principal. Photos courtesy of Old Court Middle School.
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