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News for Southeastern Arizona, provided by the University of Arizona School of Journalism

From fighter pilot to to fighter for justice

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  A military hero. An activist for equal housing and job discrimination. A man who fought for civil rights so valiantly he is now considered to be the Martin Luther King Jr. of Arizona. Lincoln Ragsdale was born July 27, 1926, in Tulsa, Oklahoma. His parents, Hartwell and Onlia, were middle-class African-Americans who owned a mortuary passed onto them by Lincoln’s grandfather. After the Ku Klux Klan lynched his uncle, William Ragsdale Jr.,  the family moved to Ardmore, Oklahoma, to start anew. Onlia was the president of the  National Association of Colored Women’s Oklahoma chapter. At separate times, his older brother and cousin served as president of the NAACP in Oklahoma. In 1945, Lincoln broke the glass ceiling when he trained to become a Tuskegee Airman at the Tuskegee Army Air Corps Field in Alabama. This program was the...

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