Interview, Howard Baugh

November 1979

Howard Baugh (1920–2008) was born in Petersburg, Virginia, and grew up in Brooklyn, New York. He graduated from Virginia State College with a degree in physical education and joined the United States Air Force in 1942, during the Second World War. Baugh underwent pilot training in Tuskeegee, Alabama, and was one of the pioneering African American military aviators popularly known as the Tuskeegee Airmen. Baugh joined the 99th Fighter Squadron in Sicily and flew over 135 combat missions during his service. In 1944, he returned to the United States, where he worked on numerous military bases across the country and in the Pacific Ocean. He also taught courses in aerospace at several colleges. By 1956, Baugh had reached the rank of Lieutenant Colonel. He left the Air Force in 1967 and moved to Rochester, where he found work in Kodak’s Government and Education Market Services. Baugh passed away in August 2008.

In this interview, Baugh discusses his experiences with racial discrimination in the United States, the military, and overseas. He reports that employment opportunities for blacks in Rochester were relatively good when he and his family arrived here in the late 1960s. Baugh encourages young people to consider military service as an avenue toward future success.

Content Tags


  • 1940s
  • 1950s
  • 1960s
  • 1970s