On Sunday, Supervisor Peter Van Scoyoc unveiled a new sign in Amagansett: Lt. Lee A. Hayes Youth Park.
Mr. Hayes lived in the area most of his life and is well-known for being a member of the legendary Tuskegee Airmen, the all-Black group of 996 pilots who served in World War II. He served as a 2nd Lieutenant, helping to break the color barrier of the U.S. military despite rampant racial discrimination.
After he received his official pilot certification following WWII, Mr. Hayes continued to face discrimination and inequality in civilian life. The commercial airline industry was growing rapidly after the war, but he was unable to obtain a job as a pilot. And yet Mr. Hayes persevered and worked manual labor jobs. He was able to acquire a parcel of land in East Hampton where he built his home and settled with his wife Marion Jones, lived here for decades, and raised a family that still has ties to the community.
A plaque will be unveiled at the park on Juneteenth in 2022. Lt. Lee A. Hayes would have turned 100 on June 20, 2022.