COLORADO SPRINGS — The beginning of Black History month is one week away, and one Colorado Springs museum is sharing stories of aviators who broke down barriers for African Americans. 

The National Museum of World War Two Aviation is known for sharing stories and artifacts from World War II and the importance each had on the war. 

Gene Pfeffer, historian and curator at the museum, says several of his favorite stories center around Black History and the role African Americans had in the war. 

“You can’t help but admire the role that General Benjamin O. Davis played as the commander–who helped create that unit, who pushed that unit through and led it,” Pfeffer said. 

The museum holds many displays that feature African-Americans and the importance they had on the frontlines and back at home. 

Pfeffer said each of the stories, big or small, all makeup the full story of the war–how we won, the social change and legacy we have today and more. He said he believes it’s important for the museum to share each story, and that he takes pride in telling them everyday. 

“They weren’t greeted with open arms. In many cases they weren’t always given the best airplanes first, so they were under a microscope. Could they do this? Could they prove that Black men can do what white men can do?” Pfeffer said. 

Displays featured at the museum include the Tuskegee Airmen, the first African-American military aviators in the United States Air Forces, Colorado Springs resident and B-25 bomber Samuel Hunter who is known for his role in the Freeman Field Mutiny which pushed for equal rights for African-American pilots in the military. There are also featured displays on African-American men and women who took over positions that they once were not allowed to hold on the home front. 

“Men who would normally take manufacturing, industrial positions were off in the military fighting the war. We needed other people to step up and fill those voids, and it presented an opportunity for women and women of color to step forward and take industrial jobs they never had an opportunity to do before,” Pfeffer said. 

He said each story fits into the bigger one, and without these people, it would be impossible to tell the full World War II story. 

“It’s important to share how they fought under more trying conditions than most and understand how they fit into the bigger picture of winning World War II–how the civilians who stepped up and took defense jobs fit in, how that created social change and part of the continuum of the segregation past to the integrated present. So, it’s part of the story,” Pfeffer said.  

For more information on each of the stories shared at the National Museum of World War II Aviation, visit the website for tickets

For this story and others like it, tune into FOX21 News’s Black History Month special on Saturday, Feb. 5.