HOUSTON – Aldine ISD dedicated its newest high school and ninth grade school on Sunday, October 28th, and hosted a number of special guests who attended the event to honor the memory of General Benjamin Oliver Davis Jr., for whom the new high school and ninth grade school are named. Davis High is the first traditional, comprehensive high school constructed in Aldine since Nimitz opened in 1978.
Those who attended the event included family members of Gen. Davis; members of the Tuskegee Airmen organization whose members include those who served under his command; Brigadier General J.T. Boddie Jr. and Major General Thomas Spooner; as well as U.S. Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee; the Aldine ISD Board of Trustees; Aldine ISD administrators and community members.
Gen. Davis was the first commander of the Tuskegee Airmen, the military’s first African-American air combat unit, during World War II. His combat record and the unit he led are credited with playing a major role in prompting the integration of the armed services after World War II. He was the recipient of numerous decorations including the Air Force’s Distinguished Service Medal, the Army’s Distinguished Service Medal, the Silver Star, the Legion of Merit with two oak leaf clusters, the Distinguished Flying Cross, the Air Medal with four oak leaf clusters. After retiring from the Air Force in 1970, Gen. Davis supervised the federal sky marshal program designed to quell a rash of airliner highjackings. In 1971, he was named an assistant secretary of transportation. At the time of his Air Force retirement, he was a lieutenant general wearing three stars and was the senior African-American officer of the armed forces. In 1998, President Bill Clinton awarded him a fourth star raising him to the rank of general. Gen. Davis was the first African-American brigadier general in the United States Air Force. Danielle Burns, Gen. Davis’ great niece who attended the event along with her mother Antoinette Burns (Gen. Davis’ niece), delivered an address on behalf of her family. She thanked the district for naming the school after her great uncle, thanked the Tuskegee Airmen for attending and United Airlines for providing airfare for the Airmen to be in the audience. United also sponsors the Airmen’s annual return to Aldine to address students and staff.
“Just a few years ago, this building was a thought, just a dream for the district and those committed to the memory of Gen. Davis. Today, we sit here in this grand and beautiful building basking in its state of the art brilliance,” she said. She added that her uncle would have been proud to have such a beautiful building named after him.