Monday, June 8, 2020

Black and White Airmen

Sharing an old post from January of 2012.

Right upon the heels of learning that film producer George Lucas is involved in an interracial relationship with Good Morning America Financial Consultant Mellody Hobson, I also found out that George Lucas produced the movie Red Tails!

Because Red Tails, depicting the story of the heroic Tuskegee (African American) Airmen, was largely cast with African Americans, George Lucas had to finance it with his own money. Other producers feared low movie attendance since no heavy duty white roles were present to attract white audiences.

I wonder if Ms. Hobson put the bug in George Lucas's ear to do the movie in the first place!

That motion picture brought to mind a book I wanted to share that I happened upon by accident one day while at the library.  It's a kid's book (6th grade and up), but a fascinating account for adults to enjoy, as well.

One of the things I liked most about the story was that the two friends featured in it are from Cincinnati. And not long after I read the book, I got to see both of them speak at my sons' school--which is the very same one they attended as young boys!

In John Fleischman's Black and White Airmen: Their True History, we learn about the true history of a friendship that almost didn't happen.

John Leahr and Herb Heilbrun grew up in the same neighborhood and were in the same third grade class. Although classmates, they weren't friends, because Herb was white and John was black.

John and Herb were twenty-one when the United States entered WWII. Herb became an Army Air Forces B-17 bomber pilot. John flew P-51 fighters. Both participated in the high-altitude bomber war against Nazi Germany.  But because the army was segregated and black and white couldn't mix, they never met.

John and Herb returned home safely, but it took them another fifty years to meet and discover that their lives had almost taken the same path through times of war and peace. Now friends, Herb and John have made it a mission to tell young people why race once made a big difference and why it shouldn’t anymore.

Check out this video to learn more about John and Herb, and be sure to read John Fleischman's Black and White Airmen!

Did you see Red Tails? If so, what did you think?

Thanks for visiting!

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