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Memorandum for General Richardson
June 4, 1941 [Washington, D.C.]
Dr. Patterson, head of Tuskegee Institute, has been doing a very fine thing in assisting the Air Corps in the development of a negro aviation unit. He has been under heavy attack from the Chicago and Harlem elements, and for a time it appeared that they would succeed in emasculating the Tuskegee Air program for national defense.1
I have had a talk with him this morning and he mentioned the desirability of a definite program of publicity to play up what is being done for the development of negro military aviation at Chanute Field and at Tuskegee. Mechanics are being trained at Chanute Field; the other phases of the development are at Tuskegee, and the funds for a considerable amount of the construction were obtained by a loan from the Rosenthal (or Rosenwald) fund.2 Dr. Patterson mentioned the following newspapers as being of dominant influence to negroes in this country:
Afro-American, of Baltimore
The Pittsburgh Courier, Pittsburgh, Pa.
The Journal and Guide, Norfolk, Va.
Chicago Defender. (This has been a militant newspaper,
bitterly attacking the present Army policy).
Kansas City CALL, Kansas City, Missouri, and the
Scott Newspaper Syndicate in Atlanta.
It might be a good thing to have someone check up and get some photographs on this business both at Chanute Field and at Tuskegee.3
Document Copy Text Source: George C. Marshall Papers, Pentagon Office Collection, Selected Materials, George C. Marshall Research Library, Lexington, Virginia.
Document Format: Typed memorandum.
1.The opposition to the black aviation program at Tuskegee is discussed in Marshall to Patterson, May 24,1941, Papers of George Catlett Marshall, #2-465 [2: 518-19].
2.The Julius Rosenwald Fund, established in 1917, provided money for programs benefiting black education and welfare.
3. For an example of press coverage of aviation training at Tuskegee Institute, see The Pittsburgh Courier, June 21,1941, p. 12.
Recommended Citation: The Papers of George Catlett Marshall, ed. Larry I. Bland, Sharon Ritenour Stevens, and Clarence E. Wunderlin, Jr. (Lexington, Va.: The George C. Marshall Foundation, 1981- ). Electronic version based on The Papers of George Catlett Marshall, vol. 2, “We Cannot Delay,” July 1, 1939-December 6, 1941 (Baltimore and London: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1986), pp. 525-526.