Roadway named after Tuskegee Airman, Robin Roberts' dad at Newark Liberty International Airport

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Wednesday, November 16, 2022
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A roadway was named in honor of Tuskegee Airman Colonel Lawrence Roberts at Newark Liberty International Airport. Lauren Glassberg has the story.

NEWARK, New Jersey (WABC) -- "Good Morning America" anchor Robin Roberts' dad, Tuskegee Airman Colonel Lawrence Roberts, was honored with a street renaming on Wednesday.

A new roadway servicing Newark Liberty International Airport's new Terminal A is now named 'Colonel Roberts Road' as a tribute to the honorable New Jersey native.

The ribbon-cutting ceremony for the roadway's new name featured a presentation by Port Authority officials to Roberts in honor of her father.

"As the Port Authority moves forward in reimagining this airport, we have a commitment to building on the rich history of this state and its people," said Port Authority Chairman Kevin O'Toole. "Naming this street after New Jersey-born Colonel Roberts pays tribute to his achievements, bravery and contributions that not only impacted our communities but shaped our nation's history."

Born and raised not far from Newark in Vauxhall in 1922, Roberts dreamed of flying.

"We often heard about how our father, in Vauxhall, as a young boy would go down into the basement and he had a sawed off broomstick handle and he dreamed he was flying," Roberts said.

In 1943, the future airman entered the United States Army Air Corps at Keesler Air Force Base and was later assigned to the Tuskegee Airmen program in 1944. He dedicated 32 years to military service.

Beyond his service as a Tuskegee Airman, Roberts was an aviation and civic pioneer who fought for civil rights and desegregation.

He was instrumental in convincing U.S. President Harry Truman to desegregate the U.S. military in 1948 and helped to inspire the civil rights movement of the 1960s.

Roberts also received numerous accolades for his bravery, including 18 service medals and awards over his storied career, as well as several posthumous awards before his death in 2004.

"This is an honor we were not expecting at all and you're not only honoring our father but all the Tuskegee Airmen," Roberts said.

The airport had a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the new $2.7 billion terminal itself on Tuesday, after four years of construction.

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