“You can fly,” said First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt after going for a short hop in a training plane with Tuskegee flight instructor “Chief” Anderson. Back at the White House, Mrs. Roosevelt urged her husband to give African Americans a chance to become military pilots.
I didn’t discover that quote until AFTER I had already titled the book You Can Fly; not until after I had already written the poem “A Shot”–about how Mrs. Roosevelt urged her husband to push the military to train African Americans as pilots. Kind of makes me wonder if the narrator’s voice is actually Eleanor’s.
At Hart Middle School, Jeffery and I were greeted by a quote by Mrs. Roosevelt on an outdoor mural. Another quote by the former first lady overlooks the school’s lobby. In the media center where we presented, yet another Eleanor Roosevelt quote shares wall space with quotes by other historic and literary figures.
Is Eleanor trying to tell me something?