Evelyn Johnson doesn't need a movie to appreciate those pioneers.
Her husband Raymond was a Tuskegee Airman, drafted out of ROTC at Howard University.
Raymond Johnson became a lawyer after the war, fought for civil rights in Los Angeles and raised a family with Evelyn.
His time with the airmen became a distant memory.
"It wasn't a great big thing back when, in the 40s and 50s, because when they came back home no one paid too much attention to it," Evelyn said.
Attention was paid in 2007 when President George W. Bush presented the Congressional Gold Medal to surviving Tuskegee Airmen.
Raymond and Evelyn Johnson were there.
"The gratitude that was shown to the Tuskegee Airmen, and to see their response," Evelyn said. "They were so grateful that they were finally being recognized."
Raymond Johnson died Dec. 31 at the age 89, just three weeks shy of the debut of the "Red Tails" movie.
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