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NC A&T alum discovers Tuskegee airman’s ties to Greensboro

Charles Herbert Flowers attended NC A&T from 1934-1936. Flowers was also one of the first Tuskegee Airmen to serve.

GREENSBORO, N.C. — North Carolina A &T State University was one of only six Historically Black Colleges and Universities with a flight training program during World War II.

As part of Black History Month, we're highlighting a Tuskegee Airman who attended the university.

Charles Herbert Flowers went to the HBCU from 1934 to1936.

He went on to become one of the first Tuskegee airmen.

Andre Taylor is an oral historian and Aggie alum who uncovered the connection. 

Taylor began researching Flowers in 2016.

 “In 1942 he graduated from the Tuskegee Institute flight training in Tuskegee, Alabama,” Taylor said. “He then became a flight instructor.”

Taylor said Flowers was one of the first black flight instructors at Tuskegee.

While Flowers didn't go overseas, his job was crucial to successful air missions during the war.

“He scored high enough to be a trainer. They entrusted him to be an instructor for Tuskegee airman,” Taylor said. “To become so, that was an amazing feat.”

During the 1930’s blacks were seen as inferior to whites.

Flying in the Airforce wasn't an option for them until the 1940's.

The airmen had many achievements and much success in protecting bombers.

Their efforts overseas brought about change in a segregated America.

 “The job those segregated military units did was just an amazing thing and led to the desegregation of the United States Military,” Taylor said. “Not only were they doubted from the very beginning, but when you look at the job they did, they proved everybody wrong.”

These moments in Black history have inspired and still impact Aggies today.

“Charles Herbert Flowers, Harvey Alexander and others from that time are a huge part of our legacy in telling young scholars to fly and have big hopes” said James Stewart archivist and special collections librarian at A&T.  

Flowers went on to become an educator in Maryland.

A high school in Prince George's County is named after Flowers in his honor.

Flowers died in 2011 at the age of 92.

Stewart said Flowers' legacy lives on as more and more students come to the university to learn about aeronautics.