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Tuskegee Airmen member speaks at Cleveland youth aviation event

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CLEVELAND, TN (Times Free Press) -

People of all ages filled the Cleveland Regional Jetport lobby on Saturday to see Wilbur Mason, a member of the famous all-black 1940s Tuskegee Airmen group.

Mason, who served in stateside supply operations for the unit, discussed his experiences and those of the racially segregated air unit as part of Youth Aviation Adventure, which was organized by Community of One and the Black Pilots Association.

"The way has been paved for you," Mason told his audience, citing the role of the Tuskegee Airmen and other organizations that worked to end segregation in the United States military in the late 1940s. Those efforts foreshadowed the civil rights movement of the 1950s and 1960s.

The unit provided personnel for the 332nd Fighter Group, which served in Europe during World War II and has been the subject of such movies as "The Tuskegee Airmen" in 1995 and "Red Tails" in 2012.

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