tuskegee is located in east central alabama and is the county seat of macon county. the name tuscaloosa comes from the creek language meaning warrior. tuskegee is best know for it's historically black college tuskegee university and the WWII black fighter squadron called the tuskegee airmen. tuskegee is a very interesting place to visit for those interested in african-american history.
tuskegee is best known for the tuskegee institute now named tuskegee university. the tuskegee normal school was the idea of former slave lewis adams and a former slave holder george campbell. after the civil war freed slaves had little education or job skills. adams knew that with out an education freed blacks could not support themselves. a white candidate for the alabama senate struck a deal with adams. if local blacks would vote for him and another white candidate if elected they would fund the school. the candidates were elected and the tuskegee normal school was established in 1881. adams and tuskegee's first board of commissioners selected booker t. washington as the school's first president. the commissioners raised funds to purchase a local plantation which is now the site of the university. one of booker t. washington's first hires was the famous professor and scientist goerge washington carver. carver was most famous for his research in developing products derived from peanuts. booker t. washington was an excellent fund raiser and received grants from wealthy patrons such as andrew carnegie, collis p. huntington, henry h. rodgers, and john d. rockefeller.
in june 1941 the first black fighter squadron was trained at moton field in tuskegee. after training the 99 th fighter squadon was transported to casablanca morocco and participated in the north african campaign against the forces of field marshal erwin rommel. the 99 th was ordered to attack the small island of panteleria in the mediterranean in preparation for the invasion of sicily. the 99 th received a distinguished unit citation for this raid. despite the citation colonel william "spike" momyer recommended that the unit be disbanded. general hap arnold ordered an evaluation of all mediterranean P-40 units and the results showed that the 99 th to be equal to other fighter units. three new units graduated from tuskegee and were sent to north africa and merged with the 99 th. all four units were combined to form the 332 nd fighter group. the 332 nd fought at anzio and monte cassino italy and earned a second distingished unit citation. in the spring of 1944 the 332 nd was based in italy and flew escort bombing missions over austria, czechoslovakia, and hungary. luftwaffe fighter pilots were so impressed with the tuskegee airmen's skill that they nicknamed them "schwarze vogelmenschen" or black birdmen. in 1945 the 332 nd escorted a bombing mission on a daimler-benz tank factory in berlin and earned a third distinguished unit citation. by the end of the war the tuskegee airmen flew 15,000 sorties on 1,500 missions and shot down 109 german aircraft.