The Tuskegee Airmen overcame segregation and prejudice to become one of the most highly respected fighter groups of World War II. They proved conclusively that African Americans could fly and maintain sophisticated combat aircraft. The Tuskegee Airmen’s achievements, together with the men and women who supported them, paved the way for full integration of the U.S. military.
Chuck Stone Program participants had the opportunity to watch Red Tails (2012) on Tuesday night.
The Anthony Hemingway-directed film told the story of the Tuskegee Airmen, a regiment of African-American pilots during World War II. The Airmen–who famously flew planes with distinct red-painted tails–were subjects of great racial prejudice throughout the war, despite their excellent service record.
Awarded a Congressional Gold Medal in 2007, the Tuskegee Airmen were the first African-American pilots to ever fly in the U.S. military, and are widely considered some of the greatest soldiers in the history of the U.S. Air Force.
The story also hits close to home at UNC-Chapel Hill. Chuck Stone himself was a member of the Tuskegee Airmen.
The “Stone Sound-Off” gives all participants in the program the chance to share their thoughts about the film and the Tuskegee Airmen.
Tess Allen: “It was interesting to compare Chuck Stone’s life with everything he was involved with as part of the Tuskegee Airmen. Even though we didn’t get to meet him this year, I feel like I kind of understood what he went through.”
Junior Dolcine: “It was historic; it was an eye-opener to what African-Americans were able to accomplish during the war.”
Hannah Field: “I thought in some parts it was a little bit cheesy, but I thought the message was still clear in the end, [especially when] the men were getting injured and dying. The acting was spot-on, and I learned a lot about the Tuskegee Airmen, which I didn’t know about before.”
Seyi Gbadegesin: “The movie was inspirational in that I can understand what they went through as African-American pilots. My only complaint is that I thought it ended on an abrupt note…I would’ve liked to see more.”
Jake Gore: “I thought it was a really good movie; it was inspiring. I thought it was good to connect with everything I learned in school about the [Tuskegee Airmen] this year…I thought it was pretty impactful.”
Anica Green: “I thought that it was an interesting historical representation. I thought that the dialogue was a little bit corny, but at the end of the day I thought it was a really good movie.”
Santana Jackson: “I thought it was inspiring–not only as an African-American but as a citizen of the United States…people are fighting for their lives out there.”
Gerty Joseph: “The Tuskegee Airmen showed self-reliance and resilience. Even though they were treated wrongly, they didn’t let that stop them, and they still did everything to the best of their ability. That’s a really strong message to bring back.”
Jaclyn Lee: “I learned all about the discrimination that was going on throughout the U.S. It was inspiring”
Charlotte Matthews: “I’m glad we watched the movie. It made me realize who the Tuskegee Airmen actually were, and I thought their courage was very inspiring because they were under appreciated but never lost sight of what they were fighting for.”
Edgar Walker: “I had never known much about the Tuskegee Airmen, and their record was extremely impressive. It’s an unforgettable story, and I thought the film did the unit justice–the bravery of the pilots was evident throughout.”
Mikala Whitaker: “I really liked how the pilots pushed through all the difficulties joining the Air Force and fighting…they really went far beyond the call of duty and put their whole hearts into it. Their drive was really inspiring.”
Edgar Walker is a rising senior at Kenwood High School in Essex, Md. Edgar is a contributor to Varsity Sports Network as well as the founder of a high school basketball recruiting website, MarylandHoops.net.