Feb 11, 2021

We wish you a happy Presidents' Day this Monday, February 15.

In this issue: The Tuskegee Airmen, George Takei and Kermit Roosevelt on Japanese Internment, FDR and Lincoln's Birthday, an Assassination Attempt, WWII Military Segregation, and Roosevelt Favorites.

African-Americans struggled to gain entrance into the Army Air Corps since the first planes were used in warfare in World War I. Then on January 16, 1941, the War Department announced the formation of the 99th Pursuit Squadron, a black flying unit to be trained in Tuskegee, Alabama. During World War II, The “Red Tailed Angels” flew more than 5,500 sorties, destroying 261 enemy aircraft. A talk by Education Specialist Jeffrey Urbin with live Q&A.
From February 2017:
As a young child, acclaimed actor and activist George Takei was escorted out of his home by US soldiers as his family was taken to an internment camp. FDR Library Director Paul Sparrow moderates a conversation on Executive Order 9066 Takei and University of Pennsylvania Law Professor – and Theodore Roosevelt's Great Great Grandson – Kermit Roosevelt.

Actor and Activist George Takei

Messman 3rd Class Doris “Dorie” Miller was awarded the Navy Cross for his heroism aboard the USS WEST VIRGINIA on December 7, 1941. He was the first African American to receive the honor. This piece, a print with thermometer, includes text from his award citation.

Abraham Lincoln’s birthday is honored as an annual holiday by many states and at formal ceremonies at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, DC. Since the first birthday event at the new memorial in 1922, Presidents have often attended. and President Roosevelt did so on several occasions during his.

At a rally for President-Elect Franklin Roosevelt On February 15, 1933, at Miami's Bay Front Park, gunshots rang out. An unemployed bricklayer named Giuseppe Zangara fired five bullets, wounding four people and killing Chicago Mayor Anton Cermak. FDR, Zangara's target, was unhurt. See one of the bullets he fired in this virtual exhibit.

The US military remained segregated at the outset of World War II, but African-Americans would enter both the Marine Corps and the Army Air Corps for the first time during that war. (Video, 2:20 minutes)

When I walk through the Roosevelt home, I envision Fala following me, leading me to his favorite spots. Fala takes me to the President’s office and runs in and jumps into HIS chair, calmly commanding the attention of all who enter. Fala listens intently as FDR delivers his Fireside Chat. I see Fala comforting the President as he leads the country through the dark days of WWII.

Catherine Ladnier, Library supporter and program presenter from Greenwich, CT
"Whatever our individual circumstances or opportunities, we are all in it, and our spirit is good... and do not let anyone tell you anything different." FDR, Oct 12, 1942, fireside chat.

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