Tag: Tuskegee Airmen

BLACK HISTORY MONTH: Inspiring Stories of African Americans to Air on Disney Channel this February

Disney Animator Floyd Norman (photo via ShadowAndAct.com

article via ShadowAndAct.com

To cultivate kids’ deeper interest in history and inspire them to feel their own significance in the present and future, stories about distinguished men and women including the Tuskegee Airmen Chief Civilian flight instructor Charles Alfred “Chief” Anderson, the history-making commercial airline pilot Stephanie R. Grant, animator and Disney legend Floyd Norman, and physician, role model and activist Dr. Myiesha Taylor, will be presented as part of Disney|ABC Television Group’s “Be Inspired” interstitial series during Black History Month on Disney Channel, Disney XD and Disney Junior.

Paul DeBenedittis, senior vice president, Programming Strategy, Disney Channels Worldwide, said, “As television programmers, we work every day to better serve our kid viewers by reflecting the diverse and varied world they live in, and our ‘Be Inspired’ programming is designed to give them access to stories that can spark their deeper exploration into the rich and celebrated history of African Americans.”

The initiative begins with the story of acclaimed African-American pilot Charles Alfred “Chief” Anderson Sr., known as the “Father of Black Aviation” for his brave and innovative leadership as Chief Civilian Flight Instructor for the Tuskegee Airmen. The story, hosted by Nathaniel Potvin (Disney XD’s “MECH-X4”), originates from the non-profit Tomorrow’s Aeronautical Museum in Compton, California, and includes the museum’s founder and executive director Robin Petgrave, Ted Lumpkin of the Tuskegee Airmen 100th Fighter Squadron, and Kimberly Anyadike, the youngest African-American female to pilot an airplane across the United States. Geared toward kids age 6-14, the interstitial began airing Weds, Feb 1, on Disney Channel and Disney XD.

For younger viewers (age 2-7), Doc McStuffins, the title character from the acclaimed animated series, introduces notable women and men in a series of interstitials to be presented on Disney Junior. They are Stephanie R. Grant, a pilot who led the first all-female African-American flight crew to operate a commercial airliner; Disney legend Floyd Norman, one of the first African-American animators at Walt Disney Studios during the 1950s; and Dr. Myiesha Taylor, an emergency doctor and founder of the Artemis Medical Society, an organization comprised of over 4700 women physicians of color from around the world. Disney Junior and Disney Channel will debut the interstitials beginning Weds, Feb, 8.

To read more, go to: Inspiring Stories of Distinguished African Americans to be Presented During Black History Month on Disney Channels – Shadow and Act

National Museum of African History and Culture All-Star Tribute to Air on ABC Tonight

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National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington D.C. (photo via notey.com)

article by Lori Lakin Hutcherson (follow @lakinhutcherson)

The National Museum of African American History and Culture takes center stage on ABC Television tonight. The network will air “Taking the Stage: African American Music and Stories that Changed America” on ABC stations nationwide at 9 pm EST/8 pm CST.

Filmed live at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts as part of the Grand Opening celebration of the Museum, the program features an all-star tribute of music, dance, and spoken word on the African American experience. Oprah Winfrey, Stevie Wonder, Mary J. Blige, and Tom Hanks are among the many artists who participated in the program, which includes a special salute to the Tuskegee Airmen.

The special will feature new film footage of iconic items from the museum’s collections – items ranging from a plane used to train the famed Tuskegee airmen for World War II combat duty to a bible owned by Nat Turner. The film is accompanied by music, dance and dramatic readings by a wide range of stage and screen actors.

#TakingtheStage

University of California, Riverside Honors the Tuskegee Airmen

“Aim High/Rise Above: The Legacy of the Tuskegee Airmen” at UC Riverside (Photo:
“Aim High/Rise Above: The Legacy of the Tuskegee Airmen” at UC Riverside (Photo: ucrtoday.ucr.edu)

The Tomas Rivera Library on the campus of the University of California, Riverside has recently debuted a new exhibit entitled “Aim High/Rise Above: The Legacy of the Tuskegee Airmen.” The library has been collecting historical materials about the Tuskegee Airmen since 2005 with a focus on the personal archives of three Tuskegee Airmen from California: Arthur C. Harmon, Paul Lehman, and William R. Melton.

Archivist Bergis Jules (Photo: LinkedIn)
Archivist Bergis Jules (Photo: LinkedIn)

Bergis Jules, the university and political papers archivist and curator of African American collections at the library, said that “our goal with the exhibit is to highlight how our collection of Tuskegee materials is significant for supporting research activity locally, regionally, and nationally. We are proud to have been entrusted with these materials and excited to continue to grow the collection to document even more of this important history.”

Jules is a graduate of Earlham College in Richmond, Indiana. He holds a master’s degree in African American and African diaspora studies and a master of library and information science degree from Indiana University.

article via jbhe.com

African-American Aviation Pioneer Charles Alfred Anderson Sr. to Be Honored by U.S. Postal Service

In a significant move that brings to the forefront African-American aviation pioneers, the first-ever U.S. postal stamp honoring Tuskegee Airmen is due to be issued this month.  The definitive stamp, which immortalizes aviation trailblazer Charles Alfred Anderson, Sr., goes on sale nationwide March 13.

The 70-cent, First-Class Mail, two-ounce rate stamp, by artist and illustrator Sterling Hundley, will be unveiled next Thursday at a dedication ceremony at Bryn Mawr College in Pennsylvania.

It is part of the Distinguished Americans series, which since 2000 has honored people such as actor José Ferrer, athlete Wilma Rudolph, and scientist Jonas Salk. The Chief Anderson stamp is the fifteenth in the series.

C. Alfred “Chief” Anderson, also known as the “father of black aviation” was selected because he was “a pioneer in aviation who played a crucial role during World War II in training the nation’s first black military pilots, the Tuskegee Airmen,” says USPS regional spokesman Ray V. Daiutolo Sr.

In fact, when Anderson earned his air transport license in 1932, he was the only black American in the country qualified to serve as a flight instructor or to fly commercially. Later he because the first-ever American to successfully land an airplane in the Bahamas.

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Army Aviator First Lt. Demetria Elosiebo Becomes DC National Guard’s 1st African-American Female Pilot

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Army 1st. Lt. Demetria Elosiebo and Col. Gore inside a rotary wing helicopter at the D.C. National Guard. Elosiebo became the first African-American female aviator in the District of Columbia Army National Guard.

The District of Columbia National Guard celebrated the graduation of its first African-American female pilot.

First Lt. Demetria Elosiebo earned her Army aviator wings in February after completing Initial Entry Rotary Wing Flight School at Fort Rucker, Alabama.  “This is an extraordinary, historical event for us,” said Maj. Gen. Errol R. Schwartz, commanding general of the D.C. National Guard. “We’re extremely proud of Lt. Elosiebo. She’s a fine officer, and now, an Army aviator.”

Schwartz said every pilot who graduates from Fort Rucker’s rigorous aviator training course – male or female, regardless of their race or ethnicity – has accomplished something special.  He added that the military has moved well past the days when such accomplishments were unusual.  “The diversity of our armed forces is what makes us strong,” Schwartz said.

While completing the course is no cake walk, Elosiebo had a leg up on most other students at Fort Rucker. In her civilian career, she previously earned her FAA commercial pilots license and became a certified flight instructor.

size0Elosiebo follows in the path of the famous Tuskegee Airmen, the first African-American fighter pilots. Before World War II, black pilots were barred from earning their wings in the Army Air Corps. The Pentagon’s rationale was that African-Americans could not be taught to fly. But after being forced to go through pilot training three times before being sent to the fight, they became the best of the best. In the bomber escort missions they flew in Europe, they never lost a bomber.

Elosiebo has a strong connection to the Tuskegee Airmen. She received one of her many scholarships from one of their association chapters, and they supported her when she began pursuing her private pilot’s license at age 19. In addition, she has worked with, and been mentored by these living legends, including Herbert Jones, who formed the first African-American-owned airline in the U.S.

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68 Years After WWII, Former Tuskegee Airman and Female Civilian Military Pilot Meet

Elder James H. Brown and Jane Tedeschi, who both served as pilots during WW II
Elder James H. Brown and Jane Tedeschi, who both served as pilots during WW II, met for the first time on May 17, 2013. Tedeschi had always wanted to meet a Tuskegee Airman, who she delivered planes for as part of her military service, a rarity for women, as it was for blacks, who were pilots. (Photo: Wish of a Lifetime)

Back in the early 1940s, it was almost unfathomable for the collective imagination to conceive of African-American and female pilots, particularly lending their talents to the battle of World War II. And yet, at roughly the same time, programs were developed by the U.S. military that made that seeming improbability a reality.

Elder James H. Brown, one of the prestigious Tuskegee Airmen (the corps of African-American pilots who participated in World War II), and Jane Tedeschi, a former member of the Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASP) corps, are products of such programs. They challenged the popular stereotypes of the times that promoted the belief that neither black men nor women were fit to be pilots.

While their paths never crossed during the war, Tedeschi had always wanted to meet one of the brave Tuskegee Airmen, some of whom were stationed near the base where she served, and whose exploits she admired.

Tedeschi just recently got to do just that, bonding with Brown for the first time over their unique places in American history.   On May 17, through a partnership between the Brookdale senior living community where Tedeschi resides, and Wish of a Lifetime, an organization that fosters appreciation for seniors by fulfilling life-enriching requests, Jane got her decades-old wish. Sixty-eight years after the end of World War II, Jane, now 93, and Elder, 87, finally had the chance to connect. The result? Mutual appreciation and thanks.

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WWII’s African-American Paratroopers, the “Triple Nickles,” Lauded in New Book

Award-winning author Tanya Lee Stone is clear about why she’s written her new nonfiction book, “Courage Has No Color: The True Story of the Triple Nickles, America’s First Black Paratroopers” (Candlewick Press, $24.99).  “I want to help the Triple Nickles become as well-known as the Tuskegee Airmen,” Stone says.
The Tuskegee Airmen, the first African-American pilots in the U.S. military, are now an integral part of the history of World War II. Far fewer people, however, have heard of the 555th Parachute Infantry Battalion — nicknamed the “Triple Nickles” — and the unit’s pioneering efforts to open up paratrooper jobs during World War II.
In her meticulously researched, well-written book, Stone tells the story of how the 555th was established in 1943 — a unit with black soldiers and black officers, the first-ever black U.S. paratroopers.

The unit’s nickname was a nod to the Buffalo Soldiers, as the African-American regiments in the U.S. Civil War and later were called. The “Triple Nickles” name also connects to the buffalo image that was stamped on American nickels for many years.

It took Stone 10 years, working off and on, to write “Courage Has No Color.” It was definitely worth the wait, as Stone movingly portrays the inspiring courage, determination and persistence displayed by African-American servicemen in the face of overwhelming racial prejudice in the U.S. military. It’s a story that Stone strongly believes should be much better known than it is.  “These men are almost not with us anymore,” Stone says, noting that many of the Triple Nickles are in their 90s.

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