Santa Fe Living Treasures ‚Äď Elder Stories

Before Lawrence became an educator, he was one of the original Tuskegee airmen, a group of 250 black pilots and crewmen who flew fighter planes in World War 11 without losing a single one to enemy action.

At 18, Lawrence said he was interested in aviation and the opportunity to fly and was not thinking so much about breaking military racial barriers.

But, he said, the experience "raised or supported personal self-esteem" for those involved. And it demonstrated that, "We as blacks can do as well as anyone else and in many cases better." Back then, he added, "It wasn't as easily and readily recognized that we had those capabilities.

Story by Richard McCord
Photo © 2001 Steve Northup