Interview with Merrill Ross


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Interview transcript, Merrill Ross
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Interview with Merrill Ross


The only son of Mr. & Mrs. Richard Ross from Flat Lick and Pineville, Kentucky, Mr. Ross moved to Topeka, Kansas to accept a teaching position in the public schools when he received his call to serve in the summer of 1944. Having already earned a pilot’s license from a civilian pilot training program at Pittsburg State University, Mr. Ross successfully pursued entrance into the Tuskegee Pilot Training program. But just as he was being prepared to be sent overseas the war ended. Due to Mr. Ross’s extended illness, this interview is primarily with Mr. Ross’s wife, Barbara, and son, Brian, who share their knowledge of Mr. Ross’s military experience as a member of the Tuskegee Airmen. They provide details about his pilot training and his encounters with members of local communities while on furlough. They also highlight his attendance of the inauguration of President Obama in 2008 as a member of the Tuskegee Airmen, who were honored guests of the President. After the war Mr. Ross returned to Topeka, Kansas where he experienced the desegregation of public schools as a faculty and administrator of the city’s segregated schools. Later Mr. Ross became the first African American to serve as principal of a predominantly white school in Topeka, Kansas.


Ross, Merrill, interviewee
Dandridge, Deborah, interviewer




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Ross, Merrill, interviewee and Dandridge, Deborah, interviewer, “Interview with Merrill Ross,” World War II: The African American Experience, accessed May 28, 2024,