Benjamin O. Davis Jr. was the first Black general of the United States Air Force, following in the similar footsteps to his father, Benjamin O. Davis Sr., who was the first Black general of the United States Army.
Davis was born on December 18, 1912, in Washington, D.C., the second of three children born to his parents. His father served 41 years prior to achieving the rank of general in 1940, and that dedication inspired the younger Davis to pursue his dreams. According to historian Alan Gropman, Davis’ path to greatness was forged early on.
As a teen, Davis’ father took him to a barnstorming pilot at the Bolling Air Field in Washington, inspiring the young boy’s dreams of becoming an Air Force pilot. General Davis graduated from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, New York, in 1936, becoming the only the fourth African American to do so.
Davis endured heavy racism at the academy, and higher-ups only spoke to him as needed. The isolation didn’t break him, however, and he went on to earn his wings in 1942. The next year, he was sent to North Africa to fly with the 99th Fighter Squadron. He was also the first officer to receive his wings at the Tuskegee Army Air Field.
Davis went on to lead the 332d Fighter Group, better known as the Tuskegee Airmen, facing barriers from White officers who didn’t feel the all-Black unit was fit for combat. Proving naysayers wrong when the squadron arrived in Italy in the thick of World War II, the “Red Tails” showed their worth and more. Later, Davis led the all-Black 477th Bombardment Group out of Kentucky.
Because of Davis’ prowess as a pilot and the success of the Black squadrons he led, then-President Harry Truman signed an executive order to fully integrate the armed forces. The Air Force was the first branch to fully embrace the order. After serving in several capacities at the highest levels of the Air Force, Davis would retire from the branch in 1970. He went on to supervise the federal air marshal program, which was instrumental in preventing airplane hijackings and went on to work for the Department of Transportation.
Then-president Bill Clinton awarded Davis with the rank of general on December 9, 1998. Davis passed away four years later on Independence Day in 2002 at the age of 89.
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This Week’s Celebrity Instagrams (11/26-12/2)
30 photos Launch gallery
1. Little Legend and Puddy 😍😍😍😍
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2. "You on point Phife?" "all the time,Tip". 💥 #bannedfromnormal
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3. Vegan! The Impossible burger at Crossroads
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4. Lawrence #BeforeandAfterEpisodes 1-4: 184lbs 13% body fatEpisode 8: 196lbs 8% body fat S/O @coachdaveboxing with the works outs and @kildareriordan with the nutrition
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5. Jus haaaanngin out
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6. Meanwhile back at home in Atlanta GA someone mad they not on the 🛳. 😳
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7. No limits... Photo cred: Chris Bridges @ludacris
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8. new new
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9. Apparently my 260lbs is too much for the actual vines in the Hawaiian jungles to hold me without breaking and me falling hundreds of feet. So for safety purposes, I'm forced to swing thru #Jumanjj on wires strong enough to hold 12 adult buffaloes and 1 adult Rock. #OnSet #Jumanji #IronicallyIEatBuffaloDailyForLunch #MoreManThanNatureKnowsWhatToDoWith
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10. hey ma! 🎎#wcw 💙
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11. Surprise visit to our factories!!! #GoodAmerican #USA
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13. Peachy Keen 🔥✨⚡️
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14. If this don't look thankful I don't know what does. Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours. #UltraBlessed #24kMagic #SweetPotatoFly
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15. Late nights @nbcmarlon with the writers... we in here!!!
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16. There goes my baaaaaaaaabbbbyyyyy #QueenKingMagic!!! We're up to something! Ira BIG!!! Stay out our buisness -
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17. You want to win every game you play but when you come home to these faces... who cares. #ILoveYouGirls best part of my day, everyday!
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18. Steady,steady..... full size jenga.. "I got this one "???? Or do I ?
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19. Cornrows kind of day 😉@dontaysavoy2 you convinced me and I love. ❤️️
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20. #BrotherlyLove #tbt
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22. #basel #TeamLOVE @kingcombs
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23. Just introduced a special screening of @directher 's groundbreaking (must see) documentary @13thfilm with my brother @themichaelealy | @unitedblackout #blackoutblackfriday
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24. Me & Vanessa Williams giving #DuckLips #Pose on the set of #DaytimeDivas @vh1 - Coming Soon to a tv near you. Lol. - My make up done by @makeupsurgeon
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25. This picture just makes me wanna praise the Lord, you hear me!!!!!! Yes Lord brotha #TEDDYCAMPBELL What a #man !!! You are everything right on this picture husband ......... #gorgeous #stylish #classy #strong #masculine #king #sexy #debonair #gentlemenstyle And that #bible in your hand just seals the deal for me (probably cause i know that, that is what helped you become just as amazing as you look😘). While my heart and mind experiences the goodness of God at #church on Sundays, my eyes experiences the goodness of Teddy😍. Amen somebody🙌🏽. "Bless the Lord oh my soul and all that is within me bless his holy name" #myman #myhusband #goodman #blackman #dapperman #godlyman #goodfather #mybestfriend
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26. Yesterday was my mama's 53rd birthday!!!!! Got to celebrate with her all day. If this is what I have to look forward to I can't wait. Looking like a soft bucket a cocoa butter. Yaaaaaaaaaas! 😍😍😍 love you mommy!
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27. "Shout out to @PureAtlanta for getting the family right"....I'm loving this jogger. 😍😍
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28. This pic warms my heart ❤️ #myLogiebeans and aunt aunt umba @itowandabraxton 😘
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29. You will always be my baby😜. #HappyBirthdayReginae #mybaby18
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30. GC "Gods Child" Red on Red SweatSuit available now at www.MonicaApparel.com ... Take Your Crown wherever you go!! I'm pictured in a Medium... Go to the site now for other options ... cc: @trukernell
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