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Bill signed into law creating ‘Tuskegee Airmen Day’ in Mississippi

The Tuskegee Airmen were a group of African American military pilots and airmen who fought in World War II (Photo from the National Air and Space Museum)

Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves has signed a bipartisan bill into law honoring the fourth Thursday in March every year as “Tuskegee Airmen Day.”

After both the House and Senate passed the legislation unanimously, the Republican governor signed the bill on March 19. Gulfport’s Mississippi Aviation Heritage Museum, widely considered for its creation of an area devoted to the Tuskegee Airmen, already has an event planned for Thursday, March 28.

When introducing the legislation to the House Rules Committee earlier in the session, armed forces veteran and State Rep. Jeffrey Hulum III, D-Gulfport, acknowledged current political struggles but knew this could be a uniting topic.

“Beyond political divides, there’s a lot of room for collaboration in the state legislature, and I’m proud that this piece of legislation can be an example of that,” said Hulum, currently serving his first full term. “Black history is American history. We’re honored to give the Tuskegee Airmen a permanent place in Mississippi history books.”

Following a unanimous 121-0 vote in the House on Feb. 14, the bill quickly moved to the Senate, where it was approved on March 8 with a 51-0 vote. 11 days later, Reeves signed the legislation.

The Mississippi Aviation Heritage Museum was built in October 2020 and highlights the important role Gulfport native Col. John C. Robinson had in furthering aviation across the world, specifically with the creation of the prestigious Tuskegee Airmen program which was a group of African American military pilots and airmen who fought in World War II.

In honoring the legislation, the Col. Lawrence E. Roberts Chapter will recognize the new law on Thursday from 3-4 p.m. at the museum. Roberts was a former pilot in the Air Force who flew in the Tuskegee Airmen and was the father of Good Morning America host Robin Roberts and WWL-TV anchor Sally-Ann Roberts. He passed away in 2004.

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