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#TBT - You have heard of the Seahawks but what about the Blackhawks?

One of the Ubangi Blackhawks players was a Tuskegee Airman.

Ubangi Blackhawks - Circa 1937

The #TBT series is a collaboration between the Black Heritage Society of Washington State and Africatown Seattle to give historical insights and perspectives into Black history and Black contributions in the Seattle area and Washington State as a whole.


Seattle's legendary semi-pro football team, the Ubangi Blackhawks, were the pride of the Central Area. The Blackhawks were sponsored by black businessmen as part of the Community League during the 1930’s. Click here to learn more about the Blackhawks.


One of the familiar faces in the 1937 image of the Blackhawks is Sam Bruce (back row, 5th from left). In 1940 Sam Bruce became one of the first volunteers to enter Tuskegee Flight School. He graduated on September 6, 1942, as a second lieutenant in class 42-H-SE to become a member of the courageous Tuskegee Airmen. Bruce was a Garfield High School graduate who was the only African American Seattle-area airman killed during World War II. The local chapter of Tuskegee Airmen International is named for Sam Bruce. Read more about Sam Bruce here


FYI: Garfield High School principal, Ted Howard II, is related to Sam Bruce.