Harlem Post Office Will Now Be Known As The Tuskegee Airmen Post Office
"We needed this," said former Harlem representative Chuck Rangel.
November 27, 2018 at 3:22 am
The U.S. Post Office located at Harlem's 99 Macombs Place was previously known as Colonial Park Station. Now it has a new name rich with Black history. From now on, the office will be known as the Tuskegee Airmen Post Office Building, named after the all-Black squadron that heroically fought in World War II.
“Renaming this post office facility after the Tuskegee Airmen is a fitting tribute to the honor their memory and contributions to this country,” Democratic Representative Adriano Espaillat told ABC New York. Espaillat introduced a bill to change the name to Congress in November 2017; it was unanimously passed into law by the U.S. House and Senate in July 2018.
"On January 16, 1941, the War Department announced the creation of an all-Black fighter squadron to train at an airfield in Tuskegee, Alabama," a press release from USPS reads. "After graduation, these pilots … formed the nation’s first African American fighter unit: the 99th Pursuit Squadron. The 99th was followed by other fighter and bomber units, all known as "Tuskegee Airmen" (even if they trained elsewhere). The Tuskegee Airmen fought for freedom on two fronts: against Nazism in Europe and against discrimination at home."
“I think we needed this,” former Representative Charles Rangel (D-NY) said. “Can you imagine our country being attacked by Japanese, Italians and Germans, and through the poison of racism and segregation a group of human beings of color have to fight for the right to defend this nation? Oh, no. We needed this.”
Wilfred DeFour, one of the airmen, was in attendance at the honoring ceremony. According to New York Daily News, DeFour, who worked at the post office 30 years after his military service as an aircraft technician, is now 100 years old. As one of the men responsible for maintaining the squadron's fighter planes, DeFour painted the aircraft's tails; their red color famously led to the pilots being known as the "Red Tails."
"We didn't know we were making history at the time,” DeFour said. “We were just doing our job."
And what a job it was. Congrats to the Tuskegee Airmen for this much-deserved honor!
Now, check these out:
#S4MBlerds: My conversation with the creators of Tuskegee Heirs
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