Henry Cabot Lodge Bohler

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Henry Cabot Lodge Bohler
Henry Cabot Lodge Bohler.jpg
Bohler at 17
BornJune 8, 1925
Augusta, Georgia
DiedAugust 10, 2007(2007-08-10) (aged 82)
Tampa, Florida
AllegianceUnited States United States of America
Service/branchUnited States Army Air Corps
Years of service1942–1947
RankSecond Lieutenant
UnitTuskegee Airmen
Battles/warsWorld War II
AwardsAir Medal

Henry Cabot Lodge Bohler (June 8, 1925, Augusta, Georgia – August 10, 2007) was a member of the prestigious Tuskegee Airmen during World War II who would later aid the advancement of Civil rights for African-Americans living in the rural Southern United States.

World War II and after[edit]

He enlisted in the United States Army Air Forces at age 17.[1] By the time he was awarded his wings in 1944, there was no need for more pilots.[1] He left the service in 1947 as a second lieutenant.[2]

He graduated from Hampton University in Virginia.[2]

The civil-rights era[edit]

Bohler's persistence would be challenged again after he and his family moved to Tampa, Florida in 1950.[3] This time, he was told that he could not own his own business. His persistence again paid off as he became Tampa's first African-American licensed electrician and built a successful business,[1] rising to become one of Tampa's first African-American millionaires.[citation needed]

In 1960, Bohler, his wife and their three children went to the Lowry Park Zoo in Tampa.[2] The family was denied entry to the zoo because of their race. Bohler sued the city for discrimination. During the two years it took to hear the case, Bohler was routinely harassed by city police who would pull his car over and demand to check his driver's license.[2] On the day he was ordered to appear in federal court, he was pulled over five times.[2] Bohler ultimately prevailed, with the result being a 1962 federal order requiring Tampa to integrate its public recreation facilities.[2]

Later life[edit]

Throughout his life, Bohler never forgot his heritage. He and other former Tuskegee Airmen would often speak to school groups. He would attend yearly reunions of the Airmen, flying his own Piper Archer airplane to the events.

He was forced to stop flying at the age of 80 after being diagnosed with a brain tumor. Some time later, he fell in his garage and hit his head, which apparently caused bleeding on the brain that was undetected at the time. He was later admitted to a local hospital and spent the next two years in various care facilities.

Henry Bohler died on August 10, 2007, in Tampa, Florida, from complications from his injuries, including brain injuries resulting from a fall two years earlier. He was survived by his wife Clifford Bohler, three children Henry Jr., Pamela, and George, seven grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c "Henry Cabot Lodge Bohler, 82; ex-Tuskegee Airman sought equality". Los Angeles Times. Time Wire Reports. August 17, 2007.
  2. ^ a b c d e f Shannon Behnken (August 15, 2007). "Tuskegee Airman fought for equality in Tampa in 1960s". Sarasota Herald-Tribune.
  3. ^ TBO.com Obituaries