Tuskegee Airmen History (in-person and on-screen)


This week I visited the Tuskegee Airmen National Historic site (in Alabama).

The Tuskegee Airmen were a group of African-Americans who served in World War II with the U.S. Army Air Force.

The Airmen were featured this year in a fictionalized action film starring Cuba Gooding Jr. and Terrence Howard.
The National Park Service maintains the historic site I visited inside a hangar. It is not terribly large, but there are several interesting displays and artifacts from the Airmen’s training and service.

The colorful airplane replicas were fantastic!

If you missed the movie in theaters, it will be out on dvd and blu-ray on May 22!

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Rooting for ‘The Help’… with some caveats


The Help is nominated for 4 Academy Awards and has generated a great deal of Oscar buzz.
Prior to seeing the movie, I read ‘An Open Statement to the Fans of The Help’ on behalf of the Association of Black Women Historians (ABWH). The statement provides historical context to address widespread stereotyping presented in both the film and novel version of The Help.
The statement says
“Despite efforts to market the book and the film as a progressive story of triumph over racial injustice, The Help distorts, ignores, and trivializes the experiences of black domestic workers. We are specifically concerned about the representations of black life and the lack of attention given to sexual harassment and civil rights activism.”

I certainly recognize those points to be valid.
Still, I truly enjoyed the movie. The African-American actresses were wonderful and talented, and the storyline was engaging.
So, I definitely recommend the movie, and I would love to see it win awards at the Oscars.
However, I do hope that viewers will be aware of these reservations about perpetuating stereotypes in popular films.
Full text of the ABWH statement can be found at:
http://www.abwh.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=2:open-statement-the-help&catid=1:latest-news