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March 24, 2012

New York City Transit Honors Tuskegee Airmen by Renaming Bus Depot

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Tuskegee Airmen Bus Depot in New York

Metropolitan Transit Authority officials, along with local politicians, NYC Transit employees, surviving Tuskegee Airmen and their families gathered on Friday at the 100th Street Bus Depot in the East Harlem neighborhood of Manhattan to rededicate the facility as the Tuskegee Airmen Bus Depot.

A dozen former Tuskegee Airmen worked for the MTA when they returned from Europe after World War II.

Airman Roscoe Brown told the crowd how the Transit Authority was one of the few places African Americans could get a job during what was still a very segregated New York. “People would tell you to your face we don’t hire Negroes here,” said Brown. But Transit saw the returning black soldiers as a giant pool of skilled labor.

Another former airman Reginald Brewster, a former transit clerk, now 94, earned a standing ovation for a speech in which he said he was “living testimony the color of your skin does not determine your mental capacity or your character.”

Howard Roberts, former President of MTA New York City Transit, who was instrumental in the renaming of the depot, delivered remarks at the ceremony. (Photo by Metropolitan Transportation Authority / Patrick Cashin)

Howard Roberts, former President of MTA New York City Transit, who was instrumental in the renaming of the depot, delivered remarks at the ceremony. (Photo by Metropolitan Transportation Authority / Patrick Cashin)
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