Son of Tuskegee Airman Brings History to Life

Warrant Dart started his two-day presentation May 7 & 8 with a simple question: “Why would these men fight for a country that fought so hard against them in peace time?” 

Mr. Dart, the son of Tuskegee Airman Lt. Col. Clarence W. Dart, then proceeded to take the Shaker juniors through the historic military roles of African Americans, starting with the Revolutionary War to World War II. Mr. Dart is steeped in historical knowledge and with a great amount of pride for the role his father had as a Tuskegee Airmen.

Lt. Col. Dart flew in 95 missions with the first African American aviators in the history of the U.S. Armed Forces, though a segregated unit. Among the more than 20 medals and honors Lt. Col. Dart received were: two Purple Hearts, a Bronze Star, a New York State Capricious Medal, and a Congressional Gold Medal awarded to the Tuskegee Airmen on March 29, 2007 in recognition of their “unique military record that inspired revolutionary reform in the Armed Forces.”

In 1942 the Pittsburgh Courier, an African American newspaper, launched the Double Victory Campaign, which stood for “Victory Abroad and Victory at Home.” Victory Abroad championed military success against fascism overseas, and Victory at Home demanded equality for African Americans in the United States.

“This is a talk about history. This is what happened in the United States,” Mr. Dart, a 38-year retired elementary school teacher, said at the very onset of the presentation. As he led students toward the portion of WWII that his father was involved in and evolved through hard work and tenacity into a Tuskegee Airmen, he added, “now I can brag about somebody who raised me and helped make me who I am.”