West Point Honors Pioneering Black Airman

The Army will name its newest cadet barracks at West Point in honor of the late Gen. Benjamin Davis Jr., a leader of World War II Tuskegee Airmen who graduated from the academy in 1936, reported the Associated Press. The barracks are expected to house cadets beginning in January 2017, states AP’s May 10 report. Davis, whose father was the Army’s first black general, was the academy’s only black cadet in 1932 and spent his time ostracized from his fellow white cadets. Academy officials said that naming the barracks after “Davis was a natural choice,” and it “gives the academy a chance to belatedly do right.” After graduating, Davis taught military tactics at the Tuskegee Institute in Alabama before becoming the commander of the first all-black air unit, the 99th Pursuit Squadron, in 1942. He went on to command the 332nd Fighter Group, a larger all-black unit, and helped pave the way to end segregation in the military, according to the New York Times obituary following his July 4, 2002, death. (For more, read Benjamin Davis, American from Air Force Magazine’s archives.)