R.I.P. Original Tuskegee Airman Clayton Lawrence Passes Away At The Age Of 91

- By Bossip Staff

Another good one has gone to glory.

Tuskegee Airman Clayton Lawrence Passes Away At 91-Years-Old From Heart Attack

We’re sad to report that one of the original Tuskegee Airmen has passed away in New York.

According to NY Daily News reports:

Clayton Lawrence, a Tuskegee Airman from Queens who fought in World War II, died Sept. 8 from a heart attack, his family said. He was 91.

“He was one of the greatest of the greatest generation,” said his eldest daughter, Virginia Hardy.

Lawrence, who was one of 161 officers arrested during a 1945 protest against the illegally segregated officers’ club at Freeman Air Field in Indiana, mostly kept his adventures in the skies to himself, Hardy said.

“Our father didn’t talk about the experience,” Hardy said. “We have come to the conclusion as much as it was a wonderful experience for them to be able to fly, it was bittersweet, especially when they returned.”

That changed in 1990, when Hardy ran into a roadblock while in a doctoral program at Harvard.

“I was overwhelmed, and he talked to me about what he went through,” she said. “He taught me never to give up.”

The humble hero’s family will celebrate his life Thursday with a service that recalls his groundbreaking military service and his work in later years inspiring youngsters.

The airmen were the subjects of racism and discrimination even after putting their lives on the line for the country.

In 2012, Lawrence joined other Tuskegee veterans for a special screening of the film “Red Tails” at the White House with President Obama. He was almost moved to tears when Obama told the trailblazing men he would likely not be president if not for them, his family said.

The Brooklyn-born Lawrence and his late wife Mathilda, who died in 1979, raised their four children in Springfield Gardens.

After retiring from his work as a New York City tax assessor in 1983, Lawrence became more active in keeping the history of the Tuskegee Airmen alive.

He headed the Greater New York Chapter of the Tuskegee Airmen Inc. for 10 years and also worked with York College on their efforts to create a museum dedicated to the airmen.

A viewing will be held on Sept. 18 from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. at the United Methodist Church in Springfield Gardens. A service will follow at 6 p.m.

R.I.P. to Lt. Col. Lawrence. Our thoughts and prayers are with his loved ones!


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