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John W. Rogers Sr. Dies

January 26, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

By Vince Saunders

Bessie Coleman Collage As we gathered under a tent at Chicago’s Lincoln Cemetery to pay tribute to legendary pilots Bessie Coleman, drugs Willa B. Brown and Janet Harmon, visit this the blue sky was slightly overcast with high scattered clouds that promised a small chance of afternoon rain.  Organized by chapter pilot Rufus Hunt; on Saturday, page May 1st, the Chicago Chapter of TAI conducted its 31st Annual Salute to these pioneering female aviators.  Fortunately, the late rain limited to a sprinkle, only dampened the grass rather than our mood.  It turned out to be a good day and our spirits were brighter than the sky.

The program was initiated by Civil Air Patrol Cadets from Thornwood High School. Commanded by recent graduate, 1st Lt. Harding who marched the cadets ¼ mile from Lincoln’s administration building to the program site, posted the colors, then withdrew to join the other program attendees under the tent.  The Invocation was delivered by Chapter Member Alcus Cromartie followed by an excellent program introduction from our Mistress of Ceremonies, Ms. Aida Abraha.  Ms. Abraha also provided recognition of our OTAs in attendance, Mr. Bev Dunjill and Milton Williams.  The program was also attended by descendants of Georgia Coleman (Dean Stallworth, Jr., et al), Bessie Coleman’s youngest sister.

We were then given a gracious welcome by Ms. Diane Nowak, General Manager of Lincoln Cemetery, representing our organizational partner and host.  Ms. Nowak discussed essays on Bessie Coleman and other pioneering aviators prepared by students

from the Kipling elementary school.  Their essays focused on why the program is so important to the youth of our community in that it helps ensure that the legacy of these aviatrix is never lost.  Ms. Nowak reminded us that both Bessie and Willa Brown are interred at Lincoln and noted that a memorial to Janet Harmon, who is buried in Arizona; will be provided for next year’s ceremony.

Lewis Addison representing the Bessis Coleman Branch of the Chicago Public Library system; read a resolution from Congressman Danny K. Davis, who noted the legacy of these famous aviators and their pioneering contributions to the field of aviation.  Tributes were then provided by Ms. Stacy Letton on the legacy of Willa Brown and Ms. Sandra Campbell, on the legacy of Bessie Coleman.

Ms. Letton presented to us how through the combined efforts of Willa Beatrice Brown and  Cornelius R. Coffey, they contributed to the pre-WWII training of approximately 200 of the some 2000 aviation students who went on to become Tuskegee Airmen pilots.  Ms. Letton also discussed how Chicago became the nucleus of Black Aviation during the 1920s and 30s.

Influenced by the aviatrix Bessie Coleman, Willa Brown started taking flying lessons in 1934 and in 1937 she became the first African-American woman to get a commercial pilot’s license. After relocating to Chicago from Gary, IN, she became a member of the Challenger Aviation Club, the Air Pilot’s Association, and the Chicago Girls Flight Club.  Also in 1937 she purchased her own airplane and co-founded the National Airmen’s Association of America (NAAA) with her husband, Cornelius Coffey. The Association’s goal was to promote African-American aviation.

Ms. Letton also told us that Willa was instrumental in establishing the Coffey School of Aeronautics. And in doing so, she fulfilled Bessie Coleman’s long standing dream of a black owned private flight  school. As the president of the Chicago branch of the NAAA, Willa led a successful fight to integrate African Americans into the U.S. Army Corps.

Promoted to the rank of Lieutenant, Willa became the first African American officer in the Civil Air Patrol. She was a member of the Federal Aviation Administration’s Women’s Advisory Board and became the first African American woman to earn a commercial pilot’s license. Willa added still another first to her prestigious career when in 1946 she became the first African American woman to run for Congress.

In 1941, she became a training coordinator for the Civil Aeronautics Administration and a teacher in the Civilian Pilot Training Program.  At the outset of WWII, Ms. Brown was the first black woman to hold a commission in the U.S. Civil Air Patrol.

The following year, she became the first African-American member of the Civil Air Patrol. She also promoted aviation on the radio and taught it in high schools. In 1972, Brown became a member of the Women’s Advisory Committee on Aviation in the Federal Aviation Agency.

Bessie Coleman_1921 French Pilot's License

Bessie Coleman 1921 French Pilot’s License

Sandra Campbell, who is a member of the Heart of America chapter of TAI, provided a superb presentation which she calls, “Follow Your Dreams”, based on the life of Queen Bess.  The audience was enraptured by her historical depiction of the life of the legendary aviatrix. The metaphors she used, such as her passion for “purple jelly beans”, provided good lessons on life skills, so important for the many young people in attendance.  “Success” she told them, “develops when preparation meets opportunity.”  Speaking as Bessie, she recalled how with help from Robert Abbott Sengstake who encouraged her to go to night school to learn how to speak French, told her “you can do it Bess.”  And so with financial support from Sengstake and the money she earned as a hairdresser in 1920 Chicago, she traveled to France where in 1921, she became the first African American woman to earn her pilot’s license.Relying also on the wisdom   learned from her Native American father who told her, “don’t take no for an answer”; because “remember Bess, every no you encounter only brings you closer to a yes”.  Her father, discouraged by racism in early twentieth century Texas, left the family when Bessie was still a youth to find a better home for them among his own people.  He told them that Jim Crow didn’t live in Indian Territory; his last words to young Bessie were, “follow your dreams.”

Ms. Campbell has been telling the “Bessie Coleman Story” around the country since 1995.  She says that she is in the Aviatrix Willa Brown in flight suit_1938process of training and mentoring her successor and looking forward to retiring from

her public speaking career in the near future. If you haven’t seen one of her presentations, look for a video clip of “follow your dreams” on the chapter website (taichicago.org), by the end of June.

Following the presentation by Ms. Campbell, pilots from the Chicago and Detroit Chapters of Tuskegee Airmen, made several in-formation flyovers of the event.  At about 500 feet and buffeted by a 20 knot wind, a flower drop over the gravesite of Bessie Coleman was made by Chicago pilot Rufus Hunt.  The two 3-ship formation included Chief Pilot Ken Rapier flying a Piper Cherokee, Victor Croswell also flying a Piper Cherokee, Marvin Williams flying a Piper Warrior, Juan Haygood (Detroit), flying a Gruman Tiger and Robert Bejna and Rufus Hunt, both flying Cessna 150s.

The cost of the event was offset in part, thanks to the efforts of chapter members Sheila Chears-Webber, Sonjia Hall and Patricia Allen, who managed our merchandise sales operation.

JRogersThen

John W. Rogers Sr. Dies;

 Tuskegee Airman, information pills
judge

JRogersNow

BY MAUREEN O’DONNELL AND LYNN SWEET Chicago Sun Times Staff Reporters January 22, ask
2014 11:41PM

It was one of those proud, full-circle moments when former Tuskegee Airman John W. Rogers Sr. was invited to the White House for a screening of “Red Tails,” a film about the pioneering African-American aviators who served their country with courage and daring despite racism in the military and at home.

He’d grown up in Knoxville, Tenn., in a time of segregated water fountains and Jim Crow rules that barred people who looked like him from using whites-only restaurants or drinking fountains.

Mr. Rogers returned from flying 120 often-dangerous missions for his country to be turned down for admission to the University of Chicago Law School, relatives said. Instead of taking no for an answer, he returned the next day decked out in his captain’s uniform and offered to take any test to get in.

Not only did he gain entry, he became a respected judge and friend to Barack Obama years before Obama became president.

So when “Jack” Rogers was invited to Washington for the 2012 screening of “Red Tails,” he couldn’t stop beaming.

“I will never forget the look on Jack’s face when he walked into the room, because Jack knows the president long before he was president,” said White House Senior Adviser Valerie Jarrett.

“As you could imagine, coming here with your colleagues with whom you served at a time [the military] was still racially segregated, and you are invited to the White House by President Obama to watch a movie in tribute to your service, well, it does not get better than that,” Jarrett said.

“Jack was so excited, he was brimming with smiles,” she said. “The president went over to give him a hug.”

Mr. Rogers, 95, died Tuesday at the University of Chicago Medical Center.

He met the man who would one day be president back when Barack Obama was Michelle Robinson’s boyfriend. Mr. Rogers’ son, John W. Rogers Jr., was the captain of Princeton’s basketball team, and he recruited Craig Robinson, the brother of first lady Michelle, for Princeton.

Mr. Rogers lived in Knoxville until he was 12, when his father, a barber and minister, died of kidney problems. He lost his mother to pneumonia when he was only 4.

He and his three sisters moved to Chicago to live with his mother’s brother, Henry Turner. He was a kind uncle, and the children found it a happy home, said Mr. Rogers’ wife, Gwen.

After graduating from Tilden High School, Mr. Rogers attended community college and earned a teaching certificate from Chicago Teachers College. He taught in the Chicago Public Schools until war broke out, then he volunteered, his wife said.

“He always wanted to be a pilot, from when he was a little boy,” she said. “He used to make little airplanes from matchboxes.”

As a member of the 99th Pursuit Squadron, he was one of the first Tuskegee Airmen to go overseas, said Mark Hanson, curator of the Chanute Air Museum in Rantoul, where the 99th Squadron was activated. Based in North Africa, members of the 99th flew over Italy, he said, performing bomb missions and escorting white pilots.

With keen eyesight and steady nerves, Mr. Rogers had a reputation for meticulous preparation and precision. “He was one of the best dive-bomber pilots in that squadron,” Hanson said. Others said, “He could drop a 500-pound bomb through the window of a building.”

He viewed “Red Tails” a few times. His granddaugher, Victoria Rogers, remembers that when he watched, he moved his hands like he was still flying. “He said he could remember the tension,” she said.

After the war, Mr. Rogers practiced law, eventually partnering with attorney and future judge Earl Strayhorn, as well as Mr. Rogers’ first wife, the former Jewel Stradford, the first African-American woman to graduate from the University of Chicago Law School. He later shared office space with prominent attorney Earl Langdon Neal, and he was a trustee of what would become the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District, his wife said. He then served 21 years as a juvenile court judge, Gwen Rogers said. He rose to become a supervising judge.

A number of the youths who appeared before him later wrote him letters thanking him for giving them a second chance, his wife said. One straightened out and formed a church, she said.

Mr. Rogers and his first wife divorced when John Jr. was about 3 years old.

When their son was about 12, “instead of giving him a toy, they invested in some stock for him,” said Chief Judge Timothy Evans of Cook County Circuit Court. Their son later founded Ariel Investments.

“I used to thank Judge Rogers for giving him the stock. I would tell him he gave birth to Ariel, which created an opportunity for me,” said Ariel President Mellody Hobson, who last summer married filmmaker George Lucas, executive producer of “Red Tails.”

Mr. Rogers was active with the NAACP, the Urban League, and he sponsored scholarships for law students. In 2007, he and other Tuskegee Airmen were honored at the Capitol and awarded the Congressional Gold Medal. “He was a wonderful, wonderful role model,” Evans said, “moving forward, while giving back, every step of the way.”

“From his service as a Tuskegee Airman to his appointment as a distinguished judge, he was a leader,” said Michael H. Schill, dean of the University of Chicago Law School.“He was so honest,” his wife said. “He was so dependable. He was so generous.”

He stressed punctuality, dependability and aiming high. And he wasn’t above telling family members “You’re a Rogers” as he exhorted them to excellence.

http://www.suntimes.com/news/obituaries/25122120-418/john-w-rogers-sr-dies-tuskegee-airman-judge.html

OTA Julian Johnson, Chicago White Sox “Hero of the Game”

September 7, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 


The Chicago White Sox Honor OTA Julian Johnson as their “Hero of the Game”

 

 
Capt. Julian H. Johnson was honored by the Chicago White Sox on 8-24-13 as the team’s “Hero of the Game”.  This game was significant as it was also the annual “Civil Rights Game” which honors America’s civil rights pioneers.  Along with the Tuskegee Airmen, cialis 40mg the Montford Pointe Marines, the Triple Nickel, the 761st Tank Battalion (“The Black Panthers”), the Transportation Corps known as the “Red Ball Express” and numerous other under recognized service men and women helped ensure that America and her allies would prevail during WWII.

The Tuskegee Airmen (“Red Tails”), like Capt. Johnson were both civil rights pioneers as well as America’s first military aviators.  Prior to Jackie Robinson’s integration of Major League Baseball, prior to Rosa Parks courageous stand leading to the Montgomery Bus Boycott and culminating in the integration of Montgomery’s bus system, the Tuskegee Airmen, fought racism both at home and overseas.  A little known aspect of civil rights history Involves the story of how a group of Tuskegee airmen, by refusing to live in segregated quarters, triggered one of the most significant judicial proceedings in U.S. military history.

For more information, read THE FREEMAN FIELD MUTINY by Original Tuskegee Airman Lt. Col James C. Warren.  LTC Warren provides a documented description of the courageous stand taken by the 477th Bombardment Group for civil rights within the military that occurred at Freeman Field, Seymour, Indiana, on April 5, 1945.


Joseph Karriem In Tuskegee Airmen Youth Aviation Seminar

September 7, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

The Chanute Prize for Team Innovation was officially presented to the Chicago “DODO” Chapter of Tuskegee Airmen, thumb Inc., cheapest for the group’s EAA Young Eagle flight program by representatives of the Society of Innovators of Northwest Indiana. The flight program offers youth the opportunity to take free rides in volunteer owned airplanes from the Gary airport and to learn about careers in aviation and the aerospace industry

“This award not only honors the Tuskegee Airmen’s program, it honors the Gary airport where they have flown from for the last 10 years,” said O’Merrial Butchee, director of the Gerald L. Lambkin Innovation & Entrepreneurship Center at Ivy Tech Community College Northwest in Gary.

Chapter president Ken Rapier accepted the presentation of the award that features a replica of the plane used by Octave Chanute in his flight from the Indiana Dunes in the late 19th century prior to the Wright brothers’ achievement. The Chanute award will be displayed in the lobby of the Gary airport administration center.

NIPSCO representative Diane Thalmann also presented a check for $500 to the chapter. Rapier said the money would help provide more scholarships for young people going to college.

 

Student and Aspiring Pilot Joseph Karriem Recaps Participation In Tuskegee Airmen Youth Aviation Seminar

 

 

I recently was given the opportunity to participate in a youth aviation seminar in San Antonio, viagra buy
Texas June 21-23.  I was selected to attend with recommendations from the Tuskegee Airmen Chicago “DODO” Chapter.  I represented the Central Region of Tuskegee Airmen, advice Inc.  The goal or reason for the seminar was to:

 1) Develop or expand an awareness of the impact and contributions of lesser-known pioneering minority aviators on international history;

 (2) Understand the roles of aviation in affecting everyday life and community;

(3) Gain exposure to the field of aviation and careers in the aerospace industry;

(4) Explore fields in aviation and technology as a catalyst for advanced and continued education; 

(5) Gain an appreciation of the story and lessons of America’s first Black military aviators, recipe
the legendary Tuskegee Airmen and their legacy of determination, education, perseverance and patience as necessary skills in achieving success in the face of overwhelming obstacles.

Throughout my experience my ultimate goal was to learn as much and enjoy as much aviation as I possibly could!  I did exactly that.  I enjoy every moment and opportunity to learn something about aviation.

When I arrived in San Antonio I was greeted by three chaperones who all had smiles on their faces, I had a good feeling I was in for a good time. We left the airport and headed towards Lackland Air Force Base to meet the other students. I was able to quickly make friends with everyone as they were sure I was very excited about what was happening. Later on, we met a pilot flying the T-1 trainer jet. He showed us an inspiring film about the Tuskegee Airmen, which was quite interesting.

Afterwards we got a chance to look at three of the base’s training aircrafts and I asked a lot of questions. We soon after visited the air traffic control tower which was very fun and a great experience. Later that afternoon we had dinner in the Pilots Lounge, the food was great. On Saturday we got a chance to go flying with pilot Charles Masters in a Piper-type aircraft.  He’s a wonderful pilot who inspires me to do great.  I told him I wanted to be a pilot and he allowed me to take the airplane’s controls and fly for 10 minutes.  He told me that I did a good job.

That afternoon we got a chance to meet Dr. Eugene Derricotte, a Tuskegee Airman and Historian. I was fortunate enough to shake his hand and take a picture with him. We then had a picnic in the park on Sunday which was quite fun and after it ended, we had to say our good byes and head home.

My passion for aviation grows every day no matter what is thrown at me and this seminar was a wonderful event that I will always be grateful for and which helped increase my knowledge.  So, I would like to thank the Tuskegee Airmen Chicago DODO chapter and the TAI Central Region very much for sponsoring me!

Joseph Karriem

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

OTA Julian H. Johnson

September 5, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

Download the TAI Procedures Manual

 

 

Julian H. Johnson 

Tuskegee Airman / Chemical Engineer

 

 
Julian H. Johnson was born to parents Julian S. and Evangeline E. Johnson on December 8, remedy
1924 in Chicago, unhealthy
Illinois. He is a graduate of A.O. Sexton Elementary School; Tilden Technical High School; and the Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT), and all located in Chicago.

While at IIT, Julian majored in chemical engineering and in 1950, received his Bachelor of Science degree in Engineering.

Military: Julian graduated from high school in 1942 and began working at National Starch Products as a Lab Assistant while attending IIT at night, with a focus squarely on his studies and preparing for his career. But as the war waged on in Europe and the Pacific, military service and Uncle Sam’s plans soon took precedence over his own. In the spring of 1943 he received a nice personalized notice from the local draft board for an all-expenses paid opportunity to travel and see the world.

In April 1943, with his invitation in hand, Julian entered the services and was assigned to the U.S. Army’s Coastal Artillery Corps. In May he shipped out to Camp Stewart’s anti-aircraft artillery training center located about 40 miles southwest of Savannah, Georgia.

By the time Julian completed artillery training he had earned a pair of stripes and the rank of corporal, but aspired to become an officer (Public Law 99 was enacted 6/3/41 which allowed enlisted men to apply for flight training). However, Julian knew that very few Negro applicants were being accepted to Officer Candidate School (OCS) programs. But for every closed door, another is opened and fortunately, one of the junior officers in his chain of command suggested that Julian apply for Air Corps Cadet School, he did and was accepted. In January 1944, Corporal Johnson was transferred from Camp Stewart to Keesler Army Air Field in Biloxi, Mississippi for physical and psychological testing and evaluation and his preliminary introduction to the field of military aviation.

Julian cleared the Keesler hurdle and was transferred to Tuskegee Institute for pre-flight training and further testing to determine whether he would become a pilot, navigator or bombardier. At Tuskegee he was informed that his stanine score (a method of scaling test scores based on a nine-point standard scale first used by the U.S. Army Air Corps during WWII), qualified him for acceptance into the Bombardier training program. The pilot selectees were to be sent to Moten Field, the navigator selectees to Hondo Field, and the bombardier selectees to Midland.

In June 1944, before being sent to their respective technical training schools, his entire cohort was transferred from Tuskegee Institute to Tuskegee Army Air Field (TAAF) as pre-aviation cadets (class 44-K) where they received basic Air Corps physical training and education. While at Tuskegee, Julian received instruction in aircraft identification, Morse code, chemical warfare protection techniques and other general Air Corps training.

At this point, the pilot selectees from his class were sent to Moten Field for primary pilot training and the navigator selectees were combined with other navigator selectees from class 44-J and this combined class was transferred to Hondo Field to complete their technical training
assignment. However, the combined class was deemed to be too large (or perhaps now just had too many black personnel assigned) to be integrated into the training program. Julian, along with others from his class, received orders to report back to TAAF and await further instructions.

While waiting for the next navigator class (at Hondo or San Angelo) the interim 6 week period (July to August 1944) was filled with a short term Flexible Gunnery School training assignment at Tyndall Army Air Field in Florida. After completing the Tyndall assignment and 13 flying hours in the B-24, Julian was awarded Aerial Gunner Wings and returned to TAAF. Shortly thereafter, Navigator/Bombardier class 44-K was transferred to Midland Army Air Field, Texas and there became part of Bombardier class 45-4B.

While at Midland Bombardier School, Julian trained in the AT-11 aircraft accumulating an additional 124 flying hours and earning the aeronautical rating of Aircraft Observer (Bombardier), effective 27 January 1945.

Career: Following his military service and four years at IIT, Julian was employed briefly by Corn Products in a pilot plant operations process in Argo, Illinois. Soon after, he moved to Joliet, Illinois to join the Ordnance Ammunition Command (OAC), as an Inspection Specialist. In this capacity Julian was responsible for operating procedures, inspection and testing in solid propellants and explosives. He held this position at OAC for 4 ½ years before moving out west in July 1956 to join the Rocketdyne division of North American Aviation, in Canoga Park, California.

At Rocketdyne, Julian was part of a team that had responsibility for equipment related to the functioning of large rocket engine test stands. Later he worked with the Atlas Fuels Program as a Senior Research Engineer where he was engaged in the electrochemical research arena that had responsibility for high vacuum line synthesis of fuels and the determination of physical properties of hydrazine and other amines (organic compounds that contain nitrogen). Following this research Julian worked on the formation of Chlorine Pentafluoride (a compound first synthesized in 1963) electrochemically from chlorine and chlorine trifluoride. Julian worked for Rocketdyne for 11 years before returning to Chicago after opportunities in the aerospace industry began to decline. Julian joined the research lab at Armour Dial¸Inc., which produced soap made from tallow, a by-product of their meat production processes. When Dial moved their research lab to Phoenix Arizona in 1971, Julian found employment with Wetco Chemical Company in their metal treating chemical division where he worked for 5 years. Prior to retirement, Julian also worked for Soft Sheen Products (research engineer) and R.R. Donnelley Company (Corporate Engineering Dept.).

OTA Laverne Shelton

December 2, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

The Chicago “DODO” Chapter of Tuskegee Airmen, visit web Inc.

presents its annual Fall

ETA THEATER FUNDRAISER

Don’t miss this promise of a sensationally good time created for your social & artistic enjoyment!! he “AMEN CORNER”, written by James Baldwin This moving drama is set in Harlem, 1955; now a period which is fading into the shadows of history. We are transported to a community which is struggling to define itself within the no-man’s land between two extremes. One is represented by the almost crushingly claustrophobic church community with its puritanical adherence to the social code of 50’s America.

The other is the jazz world, where the music implicitly carries a message of personal spiritual liberation, of ‘attitude’ and rejection of all the conformity and repression of the status quo. For the Afro- American of the time, these two different worlds were intertwined; but also represented the conflicting ways for the black community to deal with society.

Date: Sunday, September 30, 2012
Doors open: 2:00 pm – seating begins: 2:00 pm – Time: 3:00 pm Place:
ETA Theater – 7558 S. South Chicago Ave.
Donation: $25.00 per ticket

CLICK HERE TO ORDER TICKETS

Your contribution will help fund the Chicago Chapter of Tuskegee Airmen’s Youth Aviation and Educational Assistance programs. A portion of the ticket price is tax deductible as allowed by law.

LIGHT REFRESHMENTS IMMEDIATELY AFTER THE PLAY

Albert Laverne Shelton was born December 6, abortion
1920 to the union of Albert and Elizabeth Shelton, generic
 in Brookport, Illinois. He grew up in a loving household surrounded by his ten siblings, their parents and family friends. Laverne as he was known to his family & friends, received his education in the local public schools, in some cases having an older sibling as his teacher.

After completing high school, Laverne enrolled in a trade school where he was trained in the maintenance and repair of jet engines. Shortly after the completion of his mechanical training, Laverne was drafted by the U.S. Army and served with the Red Tails (Tuskegee Airmen) as lead mechanic in Italy during World War II. Laverne was honorably discharged as a staff sergeant.

Laverne continued his service to his country at Wright Patterson Air Force Base as a civilian employee until his long, happy and busy retirement. He built his home himself in Xenia, Ohio because the banks would not finance homes for Blacks at the time. Although childless, Laverne was married three times. After the death of his second wife, Eunice, Laverne relocated to Chicago where the majority of his family resides. He met and married Geraldine and they enjoyed their busy social schedule, which included numerous organization membership, snow skiing, square dancing, tennis and water sports. He taught snow skiing, continued to play tennis and water ski well into his eighties.

Upon Gerri’s passing, Laverne chose apartment living. He continued his involvement with the Tuskegee Airman serving as Membership Chairman for the Chicago “DODO” Chapter for a number of years. He was an active member of Sixth Grace Presbyterian Church as well as the Chicago Assembly.

As a Tuskegee Airman, he enjoyed many excursions as their many deserved honors were belatedly awarded to them. He was a group recipient of the Congressional Gold Medal bestowed by none other than then Senator Barack Obama. He also holds an Honorary Doctorate from Tuskegee University. Most recently, Laverne was a consultant to George Lucas while the movie Red Tails was in production. He was also featured Ebony Magazine’s Black History Month Special Edition (Feb. 2012) featuring the Tuskegee Airmen and the movie Red Tails.

After living a long and event-filled life, Laverne lost his long battle with cancer on November 21, 2012. Laverne was preceded in death by his parents, four brothers, two sisters and three wives. He is survived by three sisters Myrtle Wise, Frances Hopkins and Nadine Thompson; nieces, nephews, grand nieces and nephews as well as a multitude of friends.

 

August 23, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

The Chicago “DODO” Chapter of Tuskegee Airmen, pill Inc.

presents its annual Fall

ETA THEATER FUNDRAISER

Don’t miss this promise of a sensationally good time created for your social & artistic enjoyment!! he “AMEN CORNER”, diagnosis written by James Baldwin This moving drama is set in Harlem, 1955; now a period which is fading into the shadows of history. We are transported to a community which is struggling to define itself within the no-man’s land between two extremes. One is represented by the almost crushingly claustrophobic church community with its puritanical adherence to the social code of 50’s America.

The other is the jazz world, where the music implicitly carries a message of personal spiritual liberation, of ‘attitude’ and rejection of all the conformity and repression of the status quo. For the Afro- American of the time, these two different worlds were intertwined; but also represented the conflicting ways for the black community to deal with society.

Date: Sunday, September 30, 2012
Doors open: 2:00 pm – seating begins: 2:00 pm – Time: 3:00 pm Place:
ETA Theater – 7558 S. South Chicago Ave.
Donation: $25.00 per ticket

CLICK HERE TO ORDER TICKETS

Your contribution will help fund the Chicago Chapter of Tuskegee Airmen’s Youth Aviation and Educational Assistance programs. A portion of the ticket price is tax deductible as allowed by law.

LIGHT REFRESHMENTS IMMEDIATELY AFTER THE PLAY

RED TAILS Chicago “DODO” Chapter ABC News Footage

January 21, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

Chicago area Original Tuskegee Airmen watched their history
dramatized on the silver screen. On Sunday Jan 15th, Shelby Westbrook,
Milton Williams, John Rodgers and other original airmen attended the
Chicago "DODO" Chapter's Private Screening / Fundraiser at the Showplace
ICON Theater for an advance showing of the LucasFilm epic movie, "Red
Tails".

This Day in History, July 19, 1941: Tuskegee Airmen Established

July 19, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

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A Tuskegee Airmen Moment to reflect upon.

This Day in GovCon History, July 19, 1941: – Learn More at GovWin

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