WWII Resources: Pearl Harbor & Tuskegee Airmen

1 Dec

Listen to the poem, “Pearl Harbor,” from You Can Fly the Tuskegee Airmen by Carole Boston Weatherford, illustrated by Jeffery Boston Weatherford (Published by Atheneum/Simon & Schuster).

Listen here.

December 7 marks the 76th anniversary of the 1941 Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor that destroyed the Pacific Fleet, left 2,403 Americans dead and drew the United States into World War II. Watch President Franklin Roosevelt’s address to the nation, declar war.

For saving lives that day, Dorie Miller (below left) was awarded the Navy Cross—the first African American honoree in the conflict.

 

Boxing champion Joe Louis (far right) did his part by appearing on an Army recruitment poster and pressing to get Jackie Robinson and other black men into Officer Candidate School. But rather than seek a commission himself, Louis enlisted.

 

Though eager to fight, the Tuskegee Airmen, the first African American military pilots, were not deployed until 17 months after Pearl Harbor. These pioneering heroes went on to fly 205 bombing missions—200 without losing one bomber—and to destroy one enemy destroyer (with bullets alone!), 262 German planes and 950 vehicles. Their records not only defied racist stereotypes but also led to desegregation of the U.S. military, paving the way for the Civil Rights Movement.

The Book

Jeff and Carole at Barnaby Elementary School Oxon Hill MDThe verse novel You Can Fly: The Tuskegee Airmen follows the legendary squadrons from training in Alabama to triumph on the battlefield as they fight fascism overseas and racism on the home front. Second person poems put readers in the cockpit.

Author and illustrator launched You Can Fly at Barnaby Manor Elementary School in Prince George’s County, Md. Book a visit or virtual lecture for your school. Contact cbwpoet@gmail.com.

Honors & Praise for You Can Fly

Tuskegee cover ALA Notable Children’s Books

CBC/NCSS Notable Social Studies Trade Book

Great Lakes Great Books Master List (MI)

NCTE Notable Poetry List

NCTE Notable Verse Novel List

New York Public Library Best Books for Kids

A masterful, inspiring evocation of an era.—Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

[A] gripping historical story, reinforced by dramatically shaded scratchboard illustrations…—Publishers Weekly (starred review)

Activity

Here’s a Tuskegee Airmen paper airplane reproducible to lift the ceiling off of students’ dreams. On the blank side list character traits of the Tuskegee Airmen plus one of more uplifting quotations. Then, fold the airplane. Students can trade airplanes with friends.

Primary Sources

Browse WWII and Tuskegee Airmen photos from the Library of Congress and National Archives.

View documents from the FDR Presidential Library and Museum.

Read President Harry Truman’s 1948 Executive Order desegregating the U.S. Military.

Watch the U.S. Army recruiting film “Wings for This Man.” It’s narrated by actor named Ronald Reagan, who went on to become the 40th President of the United States.

Original Art from You Can Fly Is Now Touring

Inline image 1

The most recent stop for the touring exhibition was Atlanta Public Library’s Auburn Avenue Research Center. Before that, the original art was displayed at Fayetteville State University, Guilford Technical Community College and Cumberland County Public Library. The next stop is Oxon Hill Public Library in Maryland. Contact us to find out how to bring the exhibition to your area.

 

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: