September 5, 2014 |
Curtis Thomas Sr., 100, a retired electrician who brought nearly two dozen others into the trade and who was a block captain in Germantown for 40 years, died Thursday, Aug. 28, at Dresher Hill Health & Rehabilitation Center. He was the father of State Rep. W. Curtis Thomas. Mr. Thomas, who served with the Tuskegee Airmen, was one of the first African Americans to work for Philadelphia Gas Works, where he was an electrician for more than 40 years, said his son. He also installed the Christmas lights at his church, Jones Tabernacle A.M.E.
February 27, 2014 |
Long after he piloted a plane that transported first lady Eleanor Roosevelt to the skies above the Tuskegee Institute, C. Alfred "Chief" Anderson sometimes sidestepped the limelight. The aviator, born in Bridgeport, Montgomery County, taught hundreds of Tuskegee Airmen to fly, and he sat appreciatively through the frequent award ceremonies but at times grew weary. He once sent his preteen granddaughters to accept an award while he waited in the car. So what would the man known as the "Father of Black Aviation" say about the new U.S. Postal Service stamp soon to be issued in his honor?
October 14, 2013 |
Mary Groce didn't know she had a great-uncle who could be worthy of history books until she opened an old cardboard box. The 63-year-old was rifling through family memorabilia with a relative when she came across the photo of a handsome, crisply dressed man gripping the steering wheel in a cockpit. "That's Uncle Emory?" she said, stunned, to her cousin Aileen Ryan. "He's black. " Groce looks anything but. As she dug deeper, Groce found the outline of a life that had been hidden from her family for a generation.
May 27, 2013
By John C. Church Jr. After seeing the film 42 , I was reminded of the quote that adorns Jackie Robinson's gravestone: "A life is not important except in the impact it has on other lives. " This Memorial Day I'll be thinking of those who had an impact. That includes friends with whom I served, but also some others. When I met Cpl. Thomas Turner, a World War II Marine, he was wearing his Presidential Gold Medal. Turner, a Montford Point Marine, volunteered for service after President Franklin D. Roosevelt barred the military from refusing employment on the basis of race, creed, color, or national origin.
May 11, 2013 |
John H. Grant Sr., 85, of Philadelphia, an aircraft mechanic with the famed Tuskegee Airmen, died Monday, May 6, at the hospice unit at Women's Medical Hospital after a short illness. Mr. Grant graduated with honors from Tuskegee (Ala.) Institute in 1949 with a major in aircraft technology. He served in the Army as an aircraft mechanic based in Guam, maintaining tplanes for the airmen, the first African Americans to take to the skies on behalf of the United States. He told his son, John Jr., that he believed the aviators never received the respect they deserved.
February 18, 2013 |
TUSKEGEE, Ala. - There is only one college or university designated a National Historic Site by the U.S. Congress, and it is not Harvard or Yale or Princeton. It is the Tuskegee Institute, now Tuskegee University. History is rich on this campus, and the ghosts of its storied faculty and alumni are ever present. These include founder Booker T. Washington, botanist George Washington Carver, author Ralph Ellison, and Daniel "Chappie" James, the first African American four-star general.
January 12, 2013
Jean McCoy Curtis, 88, of Chestnut Hill, a former secretary and administrative assistant who was the wife of a Tuskegee Airman, died Friday, Jan. 4, of respiratory failure at St. Joseph's Villa in Flourtown. Born in Pittsburgh, Mrs. Curtis graduated from Peabody High School in 1942. Three years later, she married her longtime sweetheart, William Johnston Curtis, one of the Tuskegee Airmen, a pioneering group of black Army pilots during World War II. The couple settled in the West Mount Airy section of Philadelphia in 1953.
November 28, 2012 |
Wilson C. Anderson, 87, who served as a radio mechanic with the Tuskegee Airmen during World War II and later was a Philadelphia city employee for 35 years, died Wednesday, Nov. 21, of a stroke at Roxborough Memorial Hospital. Born and raised in Philadelphia, Mr. Anderson attended South Philadelphia High School, dropped out to enter the service, and later earned his GED. He was awarded a bachelor's degree in finance from Villanova University in 1952, and also received a graduate certificate from the Fels Institute of Government.
November 13, 2012
Retired Lt. Col. Herbert Eugene Carter, 95, one of the original Tuskegee Airmen who broke color barriers in World War II, has died. Tuskegee Mayor Johnny Ford said Mr. Carter died Thursday afternoon at East Alabama Medical Center. The Tuskegee Airmen were the first black aviators in the U.S. military. During World War II they were trained as a segregated unit in central Alabama at Tuskegee Institute, now Tuskegee University. Mr. Carter was in the first group that trained for the 99th Fighter Squadron.
October 26, 2012 |
Thomas H. Mayfield Jr., 95, one of the original Tuskegee Airmen and a retired special-education teacher in Pemberton Township, died Friday, Oct. 19, at Marcella Nursing and Rehab Center in Burlington. Mr. Mayfield, a longtime resident of Willingboro, achieved the rank of lieutenant colonel in the Army, serving in World War II, Korea, and Vietnam. He earned special recognition as a member of the Tuskegee Airmen, a group selected for training in an Army Air Corps program that taught black men to fly and maintain aircraft at the racially segregated Tuskegee Army Air Field in Alabama in the early 1940s.