Henry Cabot Lodge Bohler, 82; ex-Tuskegee Airman sought equality
Henry Cabot Lodge Bohler, 82, a former Tuskegee Airman who went on to battle racial barriers in postwar Florida, died Friday in Tampa as a result of brain injuries suffered in a fall nearly two years ago, his wife said.
Born in Augusta, Ga., Bohler dreamed of flying and joined the Army Air Forces at age 17. He learned to fly the P-51 Mustang at Tuskegee Army Air Field in Alabama with the elite unit of black airmen.
He wanted to fight in World War II, but by the time he earned his wings in 1944 the military didn’t need more pilots. He served until 1947, then went to college at Hampton University in Virginia.
Bohler moved to Tampa and went on to become the first licensed black electrician in the city and opened a successful business.
Told he couldn’t take his children to Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo because his family was black, he sued the city. That resulted in a 1962 federal order to desegregate Tampa’s parks and recreational facilities, according to the Tampa Tribune.