Tuskegee Airman, Civil Rights Activist To Be Buried At Arlington National Cemetery

LOS ANGELES (CBS) — A Tuskegee Airman turned civil rights activist will be laid to rest with full military honors at Arlington National Cemetery.

Family, friends and fellow soldiers gave a final salute to Raymond Johnson Sr., who died on New Year’s Eve. He was 89.

Johnson was a fighter pilot with the Tuskegee Airman, the military’s first African American pilots, who went on to work as a medical professional, an attorney and a judge. His wife, Evelyn, says he was outspoken against discrimination against and segregation of black doctors.

While working as a medical professional in the 1960’s, he went on TV to talk about civil rights.

“He went to work the next morning and the hospital administrator met him in the corridor. And he said, ‘I saw you on television last night. And I just want you to know, we will no longer need your services,'” Evelyn Johnson said.

During the Watts Riots, he offered his legal services to those arrested for free, Raymond Johnson Jr. said of his father.

“I remember calls that would come late, in the middle of the night, from individuals who had been arrested and had problems,” Johnson said. “And he would get his clothes on and he would go out and he would help them.”

Johnson was among the Tuskegee Airmen awarded the Congressional Gold Medal in 2007 and will be laid to rest at Arlington National Cemetery.


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