USS Hornet exhibit honors Black American achievements in military and space

The USS Hornet is honoring Black History month with a special display that highlights the achievements of African-Americans in the military and space. 

The exhibit is displayed in the Alameda hangar and available when the museum is open Fridays through Mondays.

 "Sort of a key to open a door to start sharing knowledge," Leon Watkins is the founder of The Walking Ghosts of Black History. 

It promotes educational programs and community outreach.

His vision for the nonprofit started 33 years ago.

 Watkins was cast as the flag bearer for the Hollywood film "Glory"  in 1989.

It tells the story of black soldiers in the American Civil War.

The movie's producer gave Watkins twenty uniforms used in the film to help him start his nonprofit.

 "Now, we're doing research.  We're finding more information that is not talked about in schools or throughout the military," Watkins said. 

 The exhibit showcases Medal of Honor winners and those who made their mark in space: past and present.

One astronaut profiled is Stephanie Diana Wilson who is the second African American woman to go into space.

"The importance now of having a place here on the Hornet to dispense that information is truly vital," said Watkins.

 Russell Moore, marketing and outreach manager with the USS Hornet took a KTVU crew  one level below the hangar where  a permanent black history display is being installed.

"They're going to have maps, video screen. They're going to have a timeline," Moore said. " African American history is American history.  It's just that the stories haven't always been told.  It's not like these are new stories."

Stories of the first but not the last:  bringing history to life.

"If we understand our past, then we can dictate our future," said Watkins. 

 The exhibit runs through the end of February.  Moore said the permanent display will be up and running by sometime in March.