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Dabney Montgomery (1923 - 2016)

AP Photo / Kathy Willens

Dabney Montgomery (1923 - 2016)

Dabney Montgomery, a member of the Tuskegee Airmen who marched for civil rights with the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., died Sept. 3, 2016, of natural causes, according to The Associated Press. He was 93.

Montgomery was a ground crewman of the all-black Tuskegee Airmen during World War II. He was stationed in southern Italy during the war.

He later marched with King during civil rights protests in Selma, Alabama.

He was awarded the Congressional Gold Medal in 2007. The medal, along with the Presidential Medal of Freedom, is one of the highest civilian awards in the United States.

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Montgomery grew up in Selma and was drafted in 1943. He had attended Selma University for a year and was trained in clerical duties. He joined the Tuskegee Airmen as part of their ground support.

“When I saw guys who looked like me flying airplanes, I was filled with hope that segregation would soon end,” Montgomery told The Wall Street Journal in 2015.

After the war, he earned a degree in religious education and moved to New York City. He returned to Selma in 1965 to march with King as one of the civil rights leader's bodyguards. His daughter told The Associated Press that soles of his shoes and the tie he wore on the march would be part of the permanent collection at the new National Museum of African-American History and Culture in Washington, D.C.

He married his wife, Amelia, in 1971 after meeting her in a Harlem, New York, church.

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