Tuskegee Airmen want $32-million museum to land in Detroit

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The Tuskegee Airmen, the World War II soldiers whose heroics have gone largely unheralded for more than 60 years, revealed to the Free Press on Thursday plans for a $32-million national museum in Detroit, to be built with corporation donations and the unique strategy of asking every African American for an $8 contribution.

The campaign will involve a marketing blitz next year that will spread the word through public service announcements on radio stations, notices in black publications and faxes sent to black churches.

"It is our responsibility as African Americans to get this story out," said Brian Smith, a General Dynamics engineer who is chairman of the museum's capital campaign committee. "No one else has been willing to tell the story."

The campaign committee, which represents the fewer than 400 surviving airmen, has signed a 50-year lease with the Coleman A. Young Airport to house the museum there, Smith said. It would replace the small but well-maintained museum at Historic Ft. Wayne.

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