A member of the famed Tuskegee Airmen has died. World War Two veteran Lewis Bracey died in Rochester, New York last week of pancreatic cancer. Bracey was drafted into the military in 1943 and trained at Tuskegee Institute in Alabama.
Bracey attended flight school, then served as a mechanic for the nation's first black fighter pilots until 1947. In the late 1990s, Bracey and fellow veterans gave lectures about the Buffalo Soldiers. Those were the black 9th and 10th Calvaries who protected settlers and railroad crews in the West after the Civil War.
Three years ago, Bracey and lifelong friend Charles Frazier started the Frederick Douglass Research and Development Center in Rochester, New York. The center concentrates on the history of the anti-slavery crusader, Underground Railroad operator Harriet Tubman and their 176-year-old church.
He was 81 years old. He retired 12 years ago as a city engineer.