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A Midair Courtship: Tuskegee’s Historic Love Story

Tuskegee, Alabama (CNN) – Herbert Carter and Mildred Hemmons had no time for dating in the early months of 1942.

He was training to become a member of the Tuskegee Airmen, the nation’s first military program for African-American pilots.

She was the bold, daring woman who caught his eye. At 18, she’d become the first black woman in Alabama to earn a pilot’s license. She had hopes of becoming a military pilot, too.

Flying was intoxicating. It provided Herbert and Mildred a sense of freedom — to be themselves, to dream big. The in-your-face racism of the segregated South was gone, if only for a while. In the air, the sky was literally the limit.

It takes pioneers to force change. Herbert and Mildred would play their part in the years ahead. But in those early days, they didn’t see themselves as trailblazers. They were young and in love.

More than anything, flight provided a rare opportunity to see each other. He’d call her up on Fridays: “Are you gonna be flying this weekend?”

“Of course,” she’d say.

They’d pick a time to meet. Their rendezvous point: 3,000 feet above a bridge at Lake Martin, 25 miles away. He’d be flying a repaired AT6 trainer. She’d be in a much slower Piper J-3 Cub.

“When I’d get to Lake Martin, I’d see this bright yellow Cub putt-putting along,” he said. “I’d be real proud: She was on time and on target.”

He’d pull down and fly in formation with her. They couldn’t communicate by radio; her Cub didn’t have one. All they could do was smile, wave and blow kisses.

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A Midair Courtship: Tuskegee’s Historic Love Story

One Response to A Midair Courtship: Tuskegee’s Historic Love Story

  1. Abdul Chatman

    March 9, 2012 at 8:59 pm

    THE VOICE OF THE PEOPLE,

    Something refreshing from the HIP HOP genre I hope you enjoy, we love our country and the men and women that protect and serve it.

    Hi, my name is Sam Haye. I recently turned 19 years old on December 1st, 2011. I was born and raised in Staten Island, New York and then moved with my family to Dover, Delaware. I am an independent music artist who loves my country and attached with this message is the link to my official music video, “Good Morning, America.” I know that this is a BIG & TIMELY Song that will help uplift America and all of the dreamers who wish to fulfill the American Dream, with hopes of leading a better life for all generations. I am a firm believer in having the spirit of unity & I sincerely would like to help out in the effort to bridge gaps. I know that when people work together, possibilities are endless. I was raised in a household where my parents taught me to show love to everyone despite their creed, color, sexual orientation, etc., to lend a helping hand, treat others the way you’d want to be treated, & to ALWAYS stand up for what you believe in. Music is often times said to be “the Universal Language”, so I figure, What better way to get the message across! I know that most 19 year olds are not thinking this way, but I realize that my generation and the ones to come are the future of this world, and what WE DO COUNTS! I see a bright future ahead for us, but I know that I cannot do it alone. It will take a collective effort on all ends to get the job done.

    LINK TO “GOOD MORNING, AMERICA”: http://youtu.be/8IaS1Maf4tM