Historically Black Florida A&M University recently unveiled a historic marker in honor of First Lt. James R. Polkinghorne at the FAMU Village breezeway.
Polkinghorne enlisted in the U.S. Army Air Force right before his senior year at Florida A&M. In 1943, he graduated from pilot training at Tuskegee Army Airfield in Alabama. In 1944, Polkinghorne became flight leader of his squadron and his 301st fighter group set off to Italy. During a combat mission, his airplane went missing and its crew was never found. Polkinghorne was honored for his service with a Purple Heart.
In 1948, Florida A&M University honored Polkinghorne by naming a two-story apartment complex, Polkinghorne Village. Today, FAMU Village is built on the ground where Polkinghorne Village once stood.
During the unveiling ceremony, Larry Robinson, president of Florida A&M University, presented the historic marker and spoke of Polkinghorne’s legacy. “Today we rededicate this place to honor Polkinghorne’s bravery and ensure that FAMU students are educated about this great pioneer in African-American history, FAMU history, and world history,” Robinson said.