The Texas Veterans Land Board voted on Thursday to name the state’s new home for veterans in Fort Worth after airmen from Tuskegee at a virtual meeting honoring the first black military aviators in the U.S. military.
The State Veterans Home, Texas’ 10th, will officially open Aug. 19 at 9 a.m. at 2200 Joe B. Rushing Road, according to a press release from the Fort Worth Metropolitan Black Chamber of Commerce. The chamber did not know the official name of the building and state officials were not immediately available for comment.
Members of the Fort Worth Metropolitan Black Chamber of Commerce campaigned for the house to come to Fort Worth and be named after the Tuskegee Airmen, a group of elite black airmen who flew airplanes from combat during World War II.
Tuskegee Airmen served at a time when the army was separate.
The group of more than 900 black pilots trained at Tuskegee Army Air Field in Alabama and flew more than 1,500 missions in North Africa and Italy.
The group faced discrimination during their time in the armed forces, but have since been honored for their wartime heritage and achievements. The Airmen collectively received a Congressional Gold Medal in 2007, were inducted into the International Air and Space Hall of Fame in 2008, and were commemorated in the George Lucas film “Red Tails” in 2012.
Fort Worth was home to at least five Airmen from Tuskegee, the city’s last surviving member, Robert T McDaniel, who died in 2019 at the age of 96.
State veterans’ homes provide long-term nursing care to skilled veterans.
Local officials including Tarrant County Judge Glen Whitley, Tarrant County Commissioner Roy Brooks and State Senator Beverly Powell have sent letters of support to the house to honor the Tuskegee Airmen.
During Thursday’s meeting, Dark Room spokesperson Bob Ray Sanders quoted a letter from Devoyd Jennings, the former House CEO, to the Texas General Land Office. Naming the state residence after the Tuskegee aviators was one of Jennings’ last wishes.
In the letter, Jennings not only praised the group for what they did during the war, but also praised their persistence upon their return home.
“Many of these men, including those from Fort Worth, have returned home, still facing discrimination and segregation,” his letter said. “Yet, they have become and have remained outstanding leaders and role models in their communities. “