Sen. John Horhn, left, greets artist Clint Martin at Thursday’s ceremony. Credit: Kayleigh Skinner / MIssissippi Today

A Mississippi artist presented the Senate with a tribute to Tuskegee airmen Thursday morning in the Capitol.

A painting, titled “Surprise!” now hangs in room 201 inside the Capitol depicting a scene from Aug. 30, 1944 when several airmen attacked German fighter planes.

The art was painted and donated by Clinard “Clint” Martin, who said recognition for the Tuskegee Airmen was long overdue.

“This is something I had hoped to do before I leave this world and now it it done,” said the 74-year-old artist and historian.

Martin, who lives in Hattiesburg, said his uncle from McComb served during World War II as one of the African American aviators in the 332nd fighter group.

A painting titled “Surprise!” honoring the Tuskegee airmen was donated to the Senate on Thursday. Credit: Kayleigh Skinner, Mississippi Today / Mississippi Today

During the presentation ceremony, Sen. Terry Burton, R-Newton, the Senate president pro-tempore, thanked Clinton “for keeping this history alive.”

“These were certainly some great men, we had a lot of the top intellectual minds in the country who were accepted into that program and even then people said they would never be able to fly,” said Sen. John Horhn, D-Jackson. “It’s important that we remember that history, it is a great story of prevailing over great odds.”


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Kayleigh Skinner joined the Mississippi Today team in January 2017 as an education and legislative reporter and advanced to a senior staff member in her four years with the company. Skinner most recently served as deputy managing editor before assuming the role of managing editor. Kayleigh has a bachelor’s in journalism from the School of Journalism and New Media from the University of Mississippi. Before joining Mississippi Today, Kayleigh worked at The Hechinger Report, Chalkbeat Tennessee, and The Commercial Appeal. She has appeared on MSNBC, NPR, and BBC Newsday Radio to discuss her reporting.