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George Hickman was an original member of the Tuskegee Airmen, America’s first black military fighter pilots and ground crew during WWII. The former Cadet Captain from St. Louis was the grandson of slaves. He was banned from flying after talking back to a white superior officer who mistreated a fellow black cadet; Hickman took it personally. Once his tour was completed with the Tuskegee Airmen in 1945, George Hickman worked for Boeing in Seattle, Washington for nearly 30 years as a B-52 engineering training instructor and executive in the aerospace division.

Hickman entered into the Army in 1943 and graduated from the Tuskegee Institute in Alabama in 1944.

Like many of the Tuskegee Airmen, George Hickman felt the racism of southern whites, even in uniform. He remembered being pushed down and spit on by racists during wartime. Against a racist past, Hickman continued to show kindness and helped others. He, along with the other remaining Tuskegee Airmen received his congressional gold medal in 2007. He left his legacy at the Seattle Seahawks stadium and at the University of Washington where he worked as an usher and box office attendant that everyone adored.

George Hickman passed away on Sunday, August 19, 2012 in Seattle, WA.

Click here to hear George Hickman talk about his life

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