American Airlines to Honor Tuskegee Airmen in Recognition of Black History Month

Published on : Wednesday, February 3, 2016

American AirlinesAmerican Airlines is marking Black History Month by paying tribute to the Tuskegee Airmen with an exclusive screening of the award-winning documentary “The Luft Gangster: Memoirs of a Second Class Hero” at the company’s C.R. Smith Museum.

 

“The Luft Gangster” has not been released to the public, but the American Airlines C.R. Smith Museum, in partnership with the Airpower Foundation and several of American’s Employee Business Resource Groups (EBRGs), will host an invitation-only screening on Wednesday, Feb. 3. In attendance will be American Airlines Capt. Eugene Richardson, III, who is the son of Tuskegee Airman Eugene J. Richardson, Jr.; Gwenelle Spann, the widow of Tuskegee Airman Lt. Calvin Spann; and American Airlines President Scott Kirby.

 

The film chronicles the life and struggle of retired Lt. Col. Alexander Jefferson, a Tuskegee Airman and former prisoner of war. During World War II, Lt. Col. Jefferson, now 93, fought for his country and was taken as a POW by the German Army. When he was released and returned home at the end of the war, he encountered racism, bigotry and segregation.

 

“The unsung and unappreciated heroes like my father have allowed me to enjoy an amazing career in aviation,” said Capt. Eugene Richardson, whose story is featured in the February issue of American Way. “I’m proud to honor him and his fellow Tuskegee Airmen by sharing their story with the next generation of aviation professionals.”

 

Students from the Irving High School ROTC will perform a presentation of colors at the Wednesday event. American and the Airpower Foundation will also screen the documentary at Grapevine High School and Colleyville Heritage High School on Wednesday.

 

Throughout the month of February, American’s in-seat inflight entertainment systems will showcase critically acclaimed African American films and TV programs, including “The Luft Gangster.”

 

Additionally, on Saturday, Feb. 20, as part of the Saturday at the Smith program series, the C.R. Smith Museum will hold its sixth annual Celebration of Black Aviation featuring author and historian C.B. Rice. American’s African American Diversity Network EBRG will host local students at the event.

 

American is also a proud sponsor of The HistoryMakers, which since 1999 has worked to preserve and make widely accessible the untold personal stories of both well-known and unsung African Americans. The HistoryMakers’ one-of-a-kind archives are now housed in the Library of Congress, providing future generations a first-hand look into the lives of many who have helped shape our nation. In March, American will debut HistoryMakers episodes in its in-seat entertainment offerings, giving customers access to a portfolio of video oral histories of prominent African Americans, starting with “An Evening with Berry Gordy.”

 

American has long been recognized for its diversity efforts, including being named in the 2015 Black EOE Journal’s Best of the Best for Top Diversity Employers, Top Supplier Diversity Programs and Top LGBT Employers. Additionally, the airline’s Diversity Advisory Council was named one of the top 25 councils in the nation for the seventh consecutive year and American recently received the highest possible rating in the Human Rights Campaign’s Corporate Equality Index for the 14th consecutive year.

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