We have lost yet another one of our stalwart brothers to Omega Chapter. Brother Mitchell Higginbotham was initiated on 5/10/1941 through Nu Psi Chapter at Virginia State College (currently Virginia State University). Brother Higginbotham later enlisted in the U.S. Army Air Corp and was one of the Tuskegee Airmen. Brother Higginbotham was a Life Member of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity with Lambda Omicron. Let us keep the Higginbotham family and the Brothers of Lambda Omicron Chapter in our thoughts and prayers. I have included Brother Higginbotham’s Obituary to share the accomplishments of this amazing Omega Man.
Tuskegee Airmen Ambassador of Goodwill
Second Lieutenant Mitchell Higginbotham, one of 7 Tuskegee Airmen from the Village of Sewickley, Pennsylvania, died Sunday, February 14, 2016 of natural causes in a nursing home in Rancho Mirage, California. He was 94.
In 1942, while a student at Virginia State College, Mitchell enlisted in the U.S. Army Air Corp and was sent to Tuskegee Air Field where Black enlistees were trained to be pilots. He was assigned to the 477th Bomber Group and trained to fly both single and multi engine military aircraft. While in training, he was cited for his skills as a B 25 Medium Bomber pilot. Mitchell’s younger brother, First Lieutenant Robert Higginbotham, is also a Tuskegee airman. Robert is a retired Orthopedic Surgeon.
During World War II, the Pittsburgh Courier launched a national “Double Victory “ campaign calling for victory against this country’s enemies overseas and over all forms of racial discrimination at home. Mitchell, and three local pilots, scored a win over segregation at three bases where they served, Selfridge Field, Michigan, Godman Field, Kentucky and Freeman Field, Indiana. Even though commissioned officers, the Tuskegee pilots were wrongly classified as “trainees” and routinely denied entrance to Officer’s Clubs. In early 1945, the 477th was sent to Freeman Field for advanced training in anticipation of combat duty in the Pacific Theater. While in training, Mitchell, and 100 other Tuskegee Officers, lined up to enter the Freeman Field club. This protest was encouraged by civil rights leaders and was widely reported in the Pittsburgh Courier and other black newspapers. Joining in the protest were the late Lieutenants Calvin Smith of Beaver County, William Curtis of Sewickley and Wendell Freeland of Pittsburgh. Although initially jailed, the protesters were later released by direct order of the President.
After the war, Mitchell went on to earn a Master’s Degree in Labor Relations from the University of Colorado. He then joined the staff of the Urban League of Pittsburgh. Mitchell was later hired by the Greater Pittsburgh Airport where he managed landings and take offs of all unscheduled aircraft. Mitchell then relocated to Los Angeles where he served as a LA County Probation Officer until retiring.
Mitchell is survived by his Brother Robert, Sister-In-Law Margaret, and two nephews, Robert and Michael. Mitchell requested that he be buried at the Tuskegee Memorial in the Sewickley Cemetery. Funeral arrangements are incomplete at this time.
In lieu of flowers, donations in memory of Mitchell L. Higginbotham may be made to the Tuskegee Airmen Scholarship Foundation, P.O. Box 881780, Los Angeles, CA 90009 or at www.taisf.org.