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War Tales

World War II was the most segregated war the United States ever fought, according Dr. Yenwith Whitney, a former Tuskegee Airman from Sarasota, Fla.

“Many commanders didn’t want blacks doing anything but menial labor in World War II. They didn’t think blacks were smart enough to do things like fly airplanes,” Whitney, who flew in the all-black 332 Fighter Group, told a packed house at the North Port Library Black History Month lecture.

The retired 78-year-old fighter pilot, who also received an aeronautical engineering degree from MIT, holds a Masters in math education and a doctorate in International Education from Columbia University, proved this nation’s military leaders wrong more than a half century ago. After graduating from a Brooklyn, N.Y., high school during the war, he signed up for the fledgling black aviation program and made it.

“I took my basic training in Biloxi, Miss. I had never been in…

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