Tuskegee Airman from Missouri gets diploma 80 years after high school

tuskegee airmen
Photo credit © Tori Schneider/Tallahassee Democrat

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP/KMOX) — A Missouri man who was unable to finish high school but went on to serve as crew chief for the famed Tuskegee Airman has received an honorary diploma nearly 80 years after leaving high school.The Jefferson City News-Tribune reports that James Shipley got the diploma in a Sunday ceremony.

RELATED: One of the last original Tuskegee Airman has died at 99Military historian Jeremy Amick says Shipley didn't have a chance to earn his diploma years ago. He attended an all-black high school that wasn't credentialed through 12th grade. Shipley would have had to travel to Sedalia for his final year, and he didn't have the resources to do so.The Tuskegee Airmen were black military pilots and crew who made up the 332nd Fighter Group and the 477th Bombardment Group of the United States Army Air Forces. 

Tuskegee airman James Shipley of Tipton MO. graduated from high school today at 96 yrs young. Segregation prohibited this in 1940. General Hank Stratman & I had the honor to present his degree on behalf of a grateful state and nation.#SupportOurVeterans pic.twitter.com/8TNxZsnc2j

— Mike Kehoe (@LtGovMikeKehoe) June 30, 2019