Fighting for the Right to Fight: African American Experiences in WWII


Before the Civil Rights marches of the 1950s and 1960s, there were a group of young African American men who fought for equality, and the right to defend their country. On October 28, the stories of these exceptional men will be shared in the Sunshine City as the St. Petersburg Museum of History opens Fighting for the Right to Fight: African American Experiences in World War II.

On loan from the National WWII Museum, the exhibit features artifacts, photographs and oral histories to highlight some of the extraordinary achievements and challenges of African Americans during World War II, both overseas and on the Home Front.

This is the first time the exhibit will have been seen outside its home in New Orleans.  Through a myriad of interactive experiences, visitors will discover the wartime stories of individuals who took part in this journey of extraordinary challenge, including Alex Haley, Sammy Davis Jr., Benjamin Davis, Jr., Medgar Evers and more.

The centerpiece of the exhibit is an original eight-minute video about the famed 332nd Fighter Group (better known as the Tuskegee Airmen), who in many ways became the public focus of African American participation during the war. Additionally, Fighting for the Right to Fight will feature two medals representing the seven African Americans who were awarded the Medal of Honor in 1997. The exhibit will also provide in-depth coverage of lesser-known events and service, such as that of the USS Mason, the first American ship to have a predominately African American crew.


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