1st LT Perry Willis Lindsey
April 29, 1922 – January 30, 2004
Graduation Date: 10/16/1945
Unit: 477th Bombardment Group
Service # 0206890
Born in New Albany, IN Linsey enrolled at Indiana State Teachers College, but his education was interrupted by WWII. Perry Willis Lindsey graduated from flight training at Tuskegee Army Air Field in Alabama on Oct 16, 1945, along with graduating from navigators and bombardier’s school. He served as a pilot in the US Army Air Forces during WWII for the famed Tuskegee Airmen.
After WWII Lindsey Lindsey earned his commercial pilot’s license but could not find work in that field due to the prejudicial hiring practices of the time. After teaching in segregated schools in Kansas City, Kansas, Lindsey flew combat missions again in a now desegregated Air Force during the Korean conflict from 1951 to 1953.
Following his service in Korea, Lindsey and his wife, Evelyn, moved to Long Beach. He taught at Eugene Field and Roosevelt elementary schools before becoming vice principal at Roosevelt and Burnett elementary schools.
In 1969, Lindsey became the city’s first African-American principal when he was appointed to the leadership post at College Intermediate School. He later served as principal at Whittier Elementary School. He was also director of compensatory education for the district before retiring in 1987.
In 2008 hundreds of students joined local dignitaries for the recent dedication of Perry Lindsey Academy, Long Beach’s newest middle school.
Family members of the late Perry W. Lindsey attended the ceremony dedicating the school in the name of the former Tuskegee Airman and first African American principal in Long Beach. Three former Tuskegee Airmen presented a plaque to the school in Lindsey’s honor.
Sutter K-8 School converted to Perry Lindsey Academy, serving about 700 students grades six through eight.
“I hope my father will serve as a reminder to students not to get anyone hold them back from achieving greatness,” Perry Lindsey Jr. told an audience who gathered for the May 30 outdoor celebration at the North Long Beach campus.
Perry Lindsey died in 2004 at the age of 81, leaving a legacy that continues to inspire educators, students and others who value hard work, determination and courage.
Photo provided by Darrell E. Morton, Jr.
Researched and written by Kelly Collin