The stylish new action blockbuster Red Tails follows the story of the famed African American pilots known as the Tuskegee Airmen. The Rosenwald Fund has an interesting role in the back-story of the Tuskegee Airmen.
Moton Field, the basic training site for newly formed unit of Tuskegee pilots, was funded initially in 1941 through a loan of $175,000 from the Rosenwald Fund. According to J. Todd Moye’s new book about the Tuskegee Airmen entitled Freedom Flyers, the board of the Rosenwald Fund met in the spring of 1941 at the Tuskegee Institute with its new trustee, First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt. Roosevelt was a flight enthusiast and a well-known supporter of civil rights for African Americans and she was eager to help secure the funding for the nascent flight-training program at Tuskegee. In a publicity stunt, Roosevelt took a half hour flight in the rear seat of a biplane piloted by head Tuskegee instructor C. Alfred “Chief” Anderson.
An image of Roosevelt in the cockpit of Anderson’s Waco biplane circulated around the country in newspapers and visually affirmed the skill and potential for African American pilots. Soon after, the Rosenwald Fund’s trustees voted to appropriate the necessary money in the form of a loan to purchase 650 acres of land and construct an airfield and hanger to be used for primary training of new pilots. The new facility was operational and accepted its first cadets in July of 1941.
Eleanor Roosevelt with Chief Flight Instructor at Tuskegee, C. Alfred “Chief” Anderson
Photo Credit: United States Air Force, April 19th, 1941
Moton Field, located just outside Tuskegee, Alabama, is open daily to visitors and tourists. For more information, visit http://www.nps.gov/tuai/index.htm. Red Tails is playing movie theaters around the country.
By Michael Rose
Please join the Humanities Council of Washington, DC for its Humanitini series, where young professionals can come together to discuss the issues of the day that are relevant to themselves and their community, in a relaxed atmosphere.
“Distortions of the district”
Tuesday, February 21st 6pm-8pm
Caverns: Tap and Parlour: 2001 11th Street, NW (At U Street)
Talk to local film experts about the way Washington DC has been portrayed in both feature and documentary film.
Filmmaker Aviva Kempner
Filmmaker Steven Nero
Lauren from DC Film Girl Blog
Kendra from Our City Film Festival (Yachad)
Jonathan Gunn from DC Film Alliance.
Moderated by Amy Saidman of SpeakeasyDC.
Director Aviva Kempner
Early in the 20th Century, philanthropist Julius Rosenwald partnered with Booker T. Washington to build 5,300 schools for rural African American communities in the South at a time when few African Americans received any public education. Born in Springfield, Illinois, Rosenwald was the son of German Jewish immigrants who rose to become one of the wealthiest men in America as the head of Sears Roebuck and Company. The film will trace Julius Rosenwalds generosity towards Black education and major Black artists and intellectuals such as Marian Anderson, the father and uncle of civil rights leader Julian Bond, Ralph Bunche, W. E. B. DuBois, Ralph Ellison, John Hope Franklin, Carl Holman, Zora Neale Hurston, Gordon Parks, James Baldwin, Jacob Lawrence, Claude MacKay and Augusta Savage.
Join award-winning director Aviva Kempner as she presents an excerpt of the work-in-progress for her latest project and a lively discussion about the film’s topic as well as a behind-the-scenes look at the making of the film.
Thursday, January 12, 2012
George Washington University School of Media and Public Affairs Building
805 21st Street, NW
Washington DC 20052
The building is located at the corner of 21st and H Streets, NW in the Foggy Bottom neighborhood. The closest Metro station is Foggy Bottom (on this Stationmasters Map, the building is noted as “Media & PA” in the center of the right side of the map. Limited street parking is free after 6:30 pm and there is also a campus garage on H Street.