Learning in Retirement – African Americans in Aviation

Coachella Valley resident Chauncey E. Spencer II will trace the timeline of African Americans in the field of aviation, a history that intersects directly with his own family heritage. In 1939, his father worked alongside Dale L. White to influence then Senator Harry S. Truman to help establish funding for the training of African American pilots at Tuskegee Institute for the Army Air Corps. Spencer II has learned first hand about the formation of the National Airmen’s Association and the creation of the Tuskegee Airmen from his father and his father’s associates including Cornelius Coffey, Willa Brown, and Harold Hurd.

Spencer II is former President of the Central Region, and past Chairman of the National Youth Committee for Tuskegee Airmen, Inc. He has been active in speaking, teaching, and mentoring at a variety of institutions and has been a recurring guest speaker during Black History Month at Ford Motor Company, Chrysler, GM, Detroit-area hospitals, and the Detroit public school system. In 2005, the Chauncey Spencer Project was created to advance the public’s understanding of the history of African Americans in aviation. Spencer II now resides in the desert full-time and is an active volunteer with the Palm Springs Air Museum.

This lecture was presented November 11, 2019 at Rancho Mirage Library and Observatory.