Portrait of Tuskegee Airman

A portrait of a Tuskegee Airman has recently been acquired by the Military Collection. The chalk on board portrait measuring 30 x 23 cm. depicts an unidentified fighter or bomber pilot from the period of World War II. While the sitter has not been identified nor his unit, it is probable that he would have served in one of the squadrons collectively known as the Tuskegee Airmen, as the American military was still segregated at that time.

All African-American aviators during World War II trained at Moton Field, the Tuskegee Army Air Field at Tuskegee, Alabama, and were educated at the Tuskegee Institute. According to the dealer’s catalog, ‘the portrait bears some resemblance to Dudley M. Glasse, a Tuskegee pilot from New York, but exact identification remains elusive at this time. Regardless of his name, the portrait created in his likeness stands as a proud reminder of African-American military service and sacrifice during a time when young African-American men and women were still denied basic civil rights, and the military which they served still thought less of them’.

The drawing was likely executed shortly after the war by a skilled artist who captures a very dignified image of the soldier.

This item complements a collection of 25 original photographs of members of the Tuskegee Airmen and related scenes donated to the Military Collection several years ago by a veteran of the unit.

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