American Airlines C. R. Smith Museum hosts a “Celebration of 100 Years of Black Aviation” with special presentations by Donald Elder, an original member of the legendary Tuskegee Airmen, and C. B. Rice, a historian and author. The Jan. 29 event at the Dallas-area museum is a kick-off for Black History Month in February.
There are many firsts for black aviators: Some were among the earliest fliers, taking to the skies in the wake of the Wright brothers. In 1921, Bessie Coleman was the first African American woman to earn her pilot’s license. The African American airmen, trained at The Tuskegee Institute during World War II, served with distinction and bravery, eventually earning the group the Congressional Gold Medal. During the Space Age, more firsts included Guion “Guy” Bluford as the first African American into space. Dr. Mae Jemison was the first African American woman into space. In 2007, Barrington Irving flew around the world in 96 days to become the youngest – just 23 years-old – and first black pilot to fly solo around the world.
The celebration starts Saturday, Jan. 29, at 3 p.m. CST at the C.R. Smith Museum located at State Highway 360 and FAA Road. The presentation is free with museum admission: adults $4; military, seniors, kids 2-18 $2.
The C.R. Smith Museum features hundreds of historical artifacts, photographs, full-scale aircraft engines and a rare Douglas DC-3 airliner. In addition, the museum’s state of the art digital theater features The Spirit of American, a film, featuring the history of commercial aviation as well as breathtaking aerial photography
For more information: AA.com