Tuskegee Airman from Detroit dies at 100

Associated Press

Detroit – Alexander Jefferson, a member of the celebrated Tuskegee Airmen during World War II, has died at age 100, officials said Friday.

Jefferson was born in Detroit and remained a lifelong resident. The city announced last fall that it plans to honor him with the Lt. Col. Alexander Jefferson Plaza at Rouge Park where he flew model airplanes as a child.

Tuskegee Airman Alexander Jefferson, seated, is recognized as he's escorted by fellow Tuskegee Airman Miguel Thornton, standing behind, as they head to the VIP area during the groundbreaking Thursday, April 7, 2022, for the Michigan World War II Legacy Memorial at Memorial Park in Royal Oak.

“Col. Jefferson not only represented the best of Detroit and our nation, he represented the very best of humanity,” Mayor Mike Duggan said.

MORE: Detroit honors Tuskegee Airman with key to city on 100th birthday

In recent years, the Tuskegee Airmen have been the subject of books, movies and documentaries highlighting their courage in the air and the doubts they faced on the ground because of their race.

Lt. Col. Alexander Jefferson, a Tuskegee Airman, third from right, is presented a key to the city of Detroit on his 100th birthday Monday, Nov. 15, 2021.

Jefferson, who was Black, flew 18 missions before he was shot down and held as a prisoner of war for eight months in 1944-45.

He returned to Detroit and was a teacher and school principal for decades.