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ROBBINS, Ill. — From Hollywood stars and athletes to pioneering pilots and entrepreneurs, there is a lot of history to explore in south suburban Robbins.

Tyrone Haymore is the keeper of the town’s rich past at the Robbins History Museum.

“I love this town. I loved my childhood growing up in this town,” he said.

Haymore is the co-founder and executive director of the museum which is currently raising money to complete renovations at its historic future home.

In this WGN-TV Cover Story, Gaynor Hall and photojournalist Vincent Tagle take a look back at the history of Robbins and the role the suburb played in encouraging Black residents to take flight.

The Robbins Airport, built in 1931, was the first Black-owned and operated airport in the country and it helped to plant the seeds for the legendary Tuskegee Airmen.

“Here’s a group of pilots who wanted to fight for their country and the Department of Defense tried to deny them that right,” Ken Rapier, president of the Chicago “DODO” Chapter of the Tuskegee Airmen, Inc., said. “They did go into combat and they proved to be the best fighter pilot escort group that there was during World War II.”