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A Philadelphia Charter School Makes ”Red Tails” Movie A Learning Experience

By John McDevitt

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Four hundred students from a North Philadelphia charter school attended a new feature film today and took part in a discussion about the legendary Tuskegee airmen of World War II.

Students of the Imhotep Institute Charter High School went on a field trip — an “on-site learning experience” — to the Pearl movie theatre, on North Broad Street, to view the movie Red Tails and talk about the topic.

“We wanted to show them the history of the Tuskegee airmen,” says history teacher Curtis Davis (far left in photo), “and show them that blacks were involved in World War II and wars before that.  And a lot of those stories are not taught in school, and at  Imhotep we value African history and African-American history, so we definitely teach our children about all this.”

Ryan McKinney, a junior, appreciated the underlying lesson.

“They rose above the racism, they rose above the stereotypes or the bigotry, and they became one — not black, not white, but American,” he said.

Read Bill Wine’s review of “Red Tails”

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  • Jessie Peterson

    Lies and damn lies:

    For more than 60 years the myth that they “never lost a bomber they were escorting to an enemy fighter,” was their primary claim to fame!

    Then, several months ago, their historian , William E. Holten, announced that his research proved that this was not true, that they had, indeed, lost some 25 bombers to enemy fighters. This myth still gets published occasionally, but far less frequently since he made this disclosure, thank goodness. Lies told often enough tend to become truths in the minds of many. However, it now seems to have been replaced by another false claim, i.e. that the Tuskegee Airmen flew more than 15,000 combat missions. ALSO NOT TRUE!

    Their own official records indicate that the T/A only flew 311 missions.

  • Self-Steam

    Lucas is now into oil-dr illing, so naturally he had to create a myth for ret ards disguised as humans.

    That these valiant Black aviators, who overcame prejudice at home in the Jim Crow South (though they had to pass the same IQ and other aptitude tests as potential white pilot trainees) and battled the insidious Nazi Luftwaffe over the airspace of mainland Europe is proof that the more than 400 deployed Tuskegee Airmen of the 332d Fighter Group are the real heroes of World War II.

    Never mind that, unlike more than 1200 white Army Air Force pilots in World War II, not one Tuskegee Airmen earned the honorific of “ace” (five or more confirmed enemy kills). Never mind that the myth of “never losing a bomber” that they escorted was finally discredited after it had been propagated via HBO’s 1995 film The Tuskegee Airmen and President George W. Bush had awarded the Congressional Gold Medal to the Tuskegee Airmen in 2007. What matters is that these Tuskegee Airmen battled the combined forces of Nazism and Jim Crow-ism, striking the idea of white supremacy a deathblow in the process.

  • Jerry Frey

    Saw it…not too good…lots of cliches.

  • Jared Synd

    Is is nice to see that the charter schools can utilize entertaining events as part of the learning experience. The public school system do not have the same privileges. As I travel around the city I can see the school buses from various suburban school districts at the Zoo, Franklin Institute, Academy of Natural Science, etc, but none from the city. The School District has taken away one of the greatest resources Philadelphia and vicinity has to offer by not allowing class trips to the same places the charter, private and parochial schools can attend. Trips to farms, historical movies, museums, old city, etc are all a learning event for children.

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