A World War II airman has earned his angel wings.
Dr. Roscoe Brown, a member of the legendary Tuskegee Airmen who flew was 68 combat missions over Europe and Bronx Community College’s president for 17 years, passed away on Saturday, July 2 at the age of 94.
Born on March 9, 1922 in Washington, D.C., Dr. Brown was destined to accomplish many great feats throughout his lifetime.
In 1943, he was named valedictorian of his graduating class at Springfield College in Massachusetts.
After college, Dr. Brown enrolled into the Tuskegee Flight School where he would graduate as a member of class 44-C-SE on March 12, 1944.
He would proudly serve his country as a squadron commander of the 100th Fighter Squadron of the 332nd Fighter Group in the European theater during WWII.
Dr. Brown made history by shooting down a German Messerschmitt Me-262 jet fighter and a Focke-Wulf FW-190 fighter with his P-51 Mustang propeller-driven plane earning him the Distinguished Flying Cross for ‘heroism or extraordinary achievement while participating in aerial flight’.
Following his homecoming, the war hero attended New York University where he earned his master’s degree in 1949 and his PhD in education in 1951.
Prior to earning his master’s degree, Dr. Brown was employed as a social investigator with the NYC Department of Welfare and as a physical education instructor at West Virginia State College until 1948.
While working on his doctorate in 1950, he served as the director of Afro-American Affairs and an education professor at NYU for 27 years.
Dr. Brown was appointed president of Bronx Community College in 1977 and would remain in the position until 1993.
As college president, Dr. Brown founded the annual Run the Bronx Race in 1978 which features a 10K, 5K and two-mile fitness walk throughout the BCC campus.
He was director of the Center for Urban Education Policy at the Graduate School and University Center for CUNY.
On March 29, 2007, Dr. Brown was among the 200 last surviving Tuskegee Airmen collectively awarded the Congressional Gold Medal, the highest civilian award, by former president George W. Bush at the U.S. Capitol rotunda.
To add to his incredible military and academic achievements, Dr. Brown won the 1973 Emmy Award for Distinguished Program for his weekly series, ‘Black Arts’.
He also hosted the public affairs show, ‘African American Legends’ airing Tuesdays and Saturdays on CUNY-TV profiling exemplary African Americans in the arts, politics, sports, social sciences, community service and business.
Michael Max Knobbe, BronxNet executive director, said Dr. Brown joined the community media network’s board of directors in 1991, nearly two years prior to the station’s first broadcast and trained Bronx residents to produce programs.
He added Dr. Brown was the guiding force for BronxNet’s media education programming.
“Dr. Roscoe C. Brown was a role model, mentor and inspiration to many, including myself,” said Knobbe. “He was very generous with his time and knowledge and held the Bronx, BronxNet and the people in our communities to such a high regard.”
Dr. Brown resided in Riverdale prior to his death.
All city flags will be flown at half-staff until Saturday, July 9 in the Tuskegee Airman’s honor.
“Dr. Brown was a true Bronx legend and was dedicated to serve the people of the borough he called home,” expressed Borough President Ruben Diaz, Jr. adding. “From his time as a Tuskegee Airman to his service as the president of Bronx Community College and beyond, Dr. Brown was a model of service and a true friend of the Bronx. He will be sorely missed.”
“BronxNet celebrates and salutes the life of this great man who is impossible to replace,” shared Paul Gentile, BronxNet chairman. “He will remain in our collective memories for all time.”
Knobbe confirmed BronxNet will televise a tribute to Dr. Brown on ‘OPEN’ starting this Friday, July 8 at 10 a.m., 5 p.m. and 10 p.m. and through the weekend on BronxNet Channel 67 Optimum, 33 Fios and at www.bronx
He added BronxNet will rebroadcast a ‘Perspectives’ interview with Dr. Brown on Thursday, July 14 and Friday, July 15 at 8 p.m. and Saturday, July 16 at 9 p.m.
A special longer form tribute to the late legend is planned to premiere sometime this September on BronxNet. Details to follow as soon as they become available.