Captain Bernard Shaw Proctor (1921-2013)

Bernard Proctor was a charter member of the Greater Philadelphia Chapter of Tuskegee Airmen

In 2007, Captain Bernard Proctor was awarded the Congressional Gold Medal for his service as part of the Tuskegee Airmen and he was very proud to wear it

Dr. Bernard Shaw Proctor was born on February 8, 1921 to George R. Proctor and Sylvia Grobes Proctor in Oakeola, Darby Township, Pennsylvania.  He attended primary and secondary school in the Darby School System. Proctor was of West Indian and African-American ancestry.  After the death of his mother at age 8 and the sudden death of his father during his freshman year, the late Isaac Sappe and Dr. Lenora Carrington Lane filled the void. Proctor passed away on Monday, September 30, 2013. He was 92.

While completing his degree at Wilberforce University, Proctor was the quarterback of the feared “Green Wave” and led the Bulldogs to participate in two Black National Football Championships in 1940-42. He was inducted into Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc. in 1938. While at Wilberforce, he was a member of the ROTC.

Following his graduation from Wilberforce, Proctor coached football and basketball. Shortly after accepting the head coaching duties at Campbell College in Mississippi, he was selected to go to Tuskegee Institute in Alabama and became an officer in the 0riginal 99th fighter squadron, the Tuskegee Airmen. He fought in the theaters of North Africa, Italy and France during World War II.

Bernard S. Proctor was an original Tuskegee Airman during World War II. He served as a Captain for the 99th Fighter Squadron and 332nd Fighter Group, and the Mess Officer of the S.S. Mariposa in Italy and North Africa.

Proctor was awarded 3 Presidential Citations, 12 Battle Stars, and a Tuskegee Airmen Congressional Medal of Honor in 2007 for their extraordinary efforts. After being discharged from the Army Air Force Reserve in 1958, Proctor married his wife Phyllis and earned both his Master’s degree in Industrial Arts and Doctorate in Philosophy from Ohio State University. He taught Industrial Arts at the Hampton Institute (University), Florida Agricultural and Mechanical, and Central State University, where he also served as the Dean of the program until 1965.  From 1957 to 1964, Proctor spent summers teaching in the college of education at Florida A&M.

For 12 years, Proctor held the position of Vice-President of Academic Affairs at Cheyney University in Pennsylvania. He remained an active volunteer with local veterans’ organizations, including the Philadelphia Chapter of the Tuskegee Airmen, after his retirement as Professor Emeritus from Cheyney University in 1991. Prior to his passing in 2013, Proctor donated a variety of materials to the National Afro-American Museum and Cultural Center over a 20 year period.

Proctor’s amassed a large quantity of documents, photographs, newspapers, and official military correspondence from his time spent with the Tuskegee Airman. His collection housed a series of his personal papers, which included correspondence, event information, photographs, articles, volunteer affiliations, and university files.