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Airman dressed in pilot’s jacket and helmet with goggles.

JEFFERSON CITY, MO, JAN. 30, 2024 – Join Michelle Brooks, who has been studying the local history of Jefferson City and Lincoln University for more than 20 years, first as a reporter for the Jefferson City News Tribune and now as a published author, as she explores the story of the Civil Pilot Training programs. The program will be held Wednesday, Feb. 7.

Anticipating World War II, the United States established CPT programs at universities and airfields. Only a handful of historically Black colleges and universities were selected since, at the time, no military arm existed for Black Americans in aviation. Lincoln University in Jefferson City, was the only site serving Black pilots west of the Mississippi River.

The Lincoln CPT program trained 50 pilots before the war began. Most of these pilots went on to some form of military service, with more than half serving in the U.S. Army Air Corps. Three of these men flew combat missions in Europe: Capt. Wendell Pruitt, Capt. Richard Pullam and Lt. Wilbur Long. Several ground crew also made impressive contributions including Sgt. Clovis Bordeaux, who was the first Lincolnite to join the U.S. Army Air Corps and later became a rocket scientist for Hughes Aircraft.

The Missouri State Museum’s “Landing After Hours” program is located at the Lohman Building at 100 Jefferson St. in Jefferson City, starting at 7 p.m. Parking is available in the lot next to the Lohman Building. In addition to being held in person, this program will also be livestreamed on the Missouri State Museum’s Facebook page.  

For more information on state parks and historic sites, visit Missouri State Parks is a division of the Missouri Department of Natural Resources.

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