Saturday, November 21, 2015

Black Latino Among Tuskegee Airmen

2nd Lieutenant Esteban Hostese, Tuskegee Airman
United States Army Air Corps

 An ex­hib­it that opened at the City Col­lege of New York (CUNY) paid trib­ute to immigrants from the Domin­ic­an Republic who served in the U.S. armed forces dur­ing World War II. Among the honorees will be Esteban Hotesse, a Domin­ic­an Republic nat­ive who im­mig­rated to the coun­try as a child with his mother and little sister. They came through the fam­ous port of El­lis Is­land.

A de­term­ined re­search as­so­ci­ate, Ed­ward De Je­sus, at the Domin­ic­an Stud­ies In­sti­tute at CUNY, made the dis­cov­ery dur­ing a three-year re­search mis­sion in­to the role of Domin­ic­an ser­vice­men and wo­men who made sig­ni­fic­ant con­tri­bu­tions to the war ef­fort or to so­ci­ety.

Hotesse, who en­lis­ted in Feb­ru­ary 1942, was among a group of 101 Tuskegee Air­men of­ficers ar­res­ted for re­fus­ing to fol­low Jim Crow or­ders from a white com­mand­ing of­ficer at a base near Sey­mour, In­di­ana where the KKK had a strong pres­ence. This act of dis­obedi­ence later be­came known as the Free­man Field Mutiny. 

  He made second lieu­ten­ant before joining the Tuskegee Air­men, the first all-black group of mil­it­ary pi­lots in the U.S. Armed Forces who made their presence known against the Germans during the war with 1578 combat missions, winning at least one Silver Star, 96 Distinguished Flying Crosses, 14 Bronze Stars, 744 Air Medals, and 8 Purple Heart.

This post should serve as more than a history lesson to black people in the Dominican Republic who, despite their actual skin color, refuse to believe that they are black. Here in the U.S., Dominican Immigrants have been noted for commenting that they are not black, but Dominican. They confuse their race with their nationality.

If Lieutenant Esteban Hotesse were anything other than black, he would have never been subject to Jim Crow laws in KKK territory, let alone having been considered for such a fine unit as the Tuskegee Airmen.

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