Wells Fargo paid tribute to the heroic achievements of the Tuskegee Airmen through a special screening of the LucasFilm documentary, Double Victory, followed by a panel discussion with two leaders of the group and the presentation of a grant to the Tuskegee Chapter.
“The broadening of interest… has been a dream come true,” says Col. Herb Carter, 94, an original airman, about the impact of the documentary and the movie Red Tails, both made by LucasFilms. “I believe respect (for the airmen) is now coming.”
As the documentary companion to the movie Red Tails, Double Victory recounts the specific achievements of the unit whose members were among the first African Americans to serve as fighter pilots in the U.S. armed forces. The story is told by the airmen themselves and highlights their double victory in war and in overcoming racial stereotypes.
Following a reception and showing of the film, Col. Carter, who flew 77 sorties against the German and Italian air forces, and Col. Roosevelt J. Lewis, president of the Tuskegee chapter, participated in a panel interview moderated by TV anchor Steve Crocker of WBRC-Fox 6 in Birmingham.
Lewis praised both films for educating and inspiring young people about the “era of excellence” represented by the airmen. Both have greatly increased demand for the seminars Lewis and Carter put on around the country. “We can’t satisfy the demand,” he said. “It has just exploded.”
Beginning in December 2011, Wells Fargo sponsored several special screenings of Red Tails across the country, including the red carpet movie premier in New York City, as well as the “Tom Joyner Morning Show–Red Tails Sky Show” event in Atlanta.
Wells Fargo’s support is also a celebration of the legacy of two former Tuskegee Airmen who joined Wells Fargo following their exemplary military careers. Col. George S. Roberts and Lt. Col. James A. Walker worked as personal bankers for Wells Fargo, where they continued their commitment to hard work, dedication and teamwork.
“We think it’s so important to help tell and re-tell this inspirational story,” said Leigh Collier, Wells Fargo mid-south regional president. “I am proud that Wells Fargo shares a special connection to this significant moment in history for our state and our nation.”
Following the event, Wells Fargo presented the Tuskegee Airmen with a check for $1,000 to support the Tuskegee chapter’s education assistance fund. The fund provides needs-based scholarships and helps send youth to aviation summer camps.
The event was held at The Harbert Center in Birmingham and more than 100 guests attended, including Birmingham community leaders and Wells Fargo customers.
(Photos by Stacy Jones Photography)