The black division of the Army Air Corps was established during World War II, when the U.S. forces were still segregated.
"When we came back from World War II, we didn't have a parade down Fifth Avenue," said retired Army 1st Lt. Wilson Eagleson.
"We were ignored. We all just got on a bus and went to our respective homes, and the white soldiers went on parade."
The Tuskegee Airmen trained near Tuskegee, Ala., and flew more than 15,000 combat missions over North Africa and Italy in World War II.
Eagleson, who fought in three foreign wars and earned a Purple Heart, was one of four panelists from the Wilson V. Eagleson Chapter of the Tuskegee Airmen Inc. who fielded questions in the ballroom of Shaw's Willie E. Gary Student Union.
The other panelists were Air Force Tech. Sgt. Leonard Hunter and Army 2nd Lt. Dr. John Driver, both retired, and Driver's wife, Lavon-De, historian of the Eagleson chapter.
The Shaw event, organized by the Beta Rho chapter of the Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity for Black History Month, was devoted to educating the public about a group of soldiers who feel they have not been given enough credit by an America still, in many ways, divided along racial lines -- more than 50 years after World War II ended.
"History has not been kind to them," Lavon-De Driver said of the pilots who destroyed more than 1,000 German aircraft.
"We do not consider this an Afro-American struggle," she said. "It was a struggle to protect this great country."