Moton Field, Tuskegee Airmen National Historic Site
Award Type: National Trust/ACHP Award
During World War II, Moton Field was where the famed Tuskegee Airmen learned to fly. These African American pilots—along with the gunners, navigators, mechanics and others who worked alongside them—signed up to fight in a global war. Some of their toughest battles, however, were fought at home. Before 1940, African Americans were barred from flying for the U.S. military. Trainees at Moton Field faced hostility, resistance and poor treatment, but they persevered, learned to fly and served their country with honor. The accomplishments of the Tuskegee Airmen during World War II helped pave the way for full integration of African Americans in the U.S. military.
Since acquiring Moton Field in the 1990s, the National Park Service has worked in partnership with a private architectural/engineering firm, local government, Tuskegee Airmen, Inc., Tuskegee University and others to preserve the airfield. Eight badly deteriorated buildings were restored or rehabbed, another was completely reconstructed, and four missing buildings were conceptually interpreted. Postwar additions were removed, and the original landscape plan is being reinstated. Throughout the site, special care was taken to provide the required visitor infrastructure with the least possible impact on the site’s historic integrity.
“The Tuskegee Airmen’s legacy was born from the struggle of hard-won battles,” said Stephanie Meeks, president of the National Trust for Historic Preservation. “Thanks to thoughtful work by dedicated partners, Moton Field allows visitors to experience a special place where a new American identity took shape, and, because of that work, the Tuskegee Airmen National Historic Site takes its rightful place among America’s treasures.”
“Partnerships among diverse interests in pursuit of the best outcome for the greater good are essential for the proper functioning of both historic preservation and federal agencies, and that’s why the preservation of Moton Field is such a worthy recipient and exemplar of the federal partnerships award,” said Milford Wayne Donaldson, chairman of the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation.