This distinguished group of men comprised the first black pilots in the U.S. armed forces. They were based in Alabama in 1941 and fought in World War II.
Thirteen-year-old Camryn Washington paused for a beat, squinted an eye and tilted her head to the left, contemplating the trivia question during a black history quiz bowl at the Citadel. The Mu Alpha Chapter of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity hosted the annual event on Saturday.
Camryn's three teammates leaned in toward her, each bouncing a knee in urgency. The girls were dressed in red, representing Delta Sigma Theta Sorority's Delta Academy in the bowl.
Camryn's thoughtful expression was soon replaced with a smirk. She glanced toward the opposing team, then extended a hand to tap the buzzer in front of her.
"The Tuskegee Airmen," she said with a smile. She knew she had it.
That's one more point for Delta Academy.
Around 200 people attended this year's black history bowl at the Citadel's Grimsley Hall, despite a brisk and rainy Saturday that would have kept many at home.
"Our time has come," said 31-year-old Jamar Snow, one of the event's coordinators, while addressing the group. "To each student I urge each one of you, as Dr. King urged us some 45 years ago, to do the best at whatever you do."
Shortly after Snow's speech, Jasmine Murray, a 23-year-old member of the Delta Chi Sigma Chapter of Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, sang "Lift Every Voice and Sing." The song is known as the black national anthem.
This year's event saw 16 teams from area schools and youth groups vie to be the first to correctly answer a series of questions related to political and social milestones in black history. Participating schools included Northwoods Middle, Mitchell Elementary, Wando High and Garrett Academy, among others.
The winning high school division team, a group of students from Mt. Moriah Missionary Baptist Church, will go on to represent the Mu Alpha Chapter in future black history competitions within the state and the fraternity's sixth district, said Nathaniel Jackson, 45, the chapter's vice president.
Other winners included Delta Academy's middle school team and Mitchell Elementary.
Jackson said the event was a way to encourage the students to learn more about their history.
"We're a service organization, so we want to make sure the kids have an opportunity to see professional African-Americans, which some of them don't get a chance to see every day," Jackson said.
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