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First Tuskegee Airman shares experiences | News

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First Tuskegee Airman shares experiences
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First Tuskegee Airman shares experiences

Dreamland FREE Drive-in movie at Dreamland Ballroom this Thursday night, The Tuskegee Airmen (1995) and Milton Crenchaw, an original Tuskegee Airman, will share his experience before the movie.

The Tuskegee Airmen is a 1995 HBO television movie based on the exploits of an actual groundbreaking unit, the first African American combat pilots in the United States Army Air Force, which fought in World War II.  Laurence Fishburne stars. 

We are excited to announce, an original Tuskegee Airman from Little Rock, Mr Milton Crenchaw, will share his amazing experiences before the movie.  Milton Crenchaw is the only living civilian flight instructor (of the first class) for the Tuskegee Airmen. He was the first Arkansas African American to be called a Tuskegee Airman.

Milton Pitts Crenchaw was born on January 13, 1919 in Little Rock, Arkansas to Ethel Pitts Crenchaw, a beautician, and Reverend Joseph C. Crenchaw. Milton Crenchaw studied auto mechanics at Dunbar Junior College and in 1939 enrolled in the mechanical engineering program at Tuskegee Institute in 1939. He learned to fly at Gunter Airfield (now Maxwell Air Force Base) near Montgomery, Alabama. In 1940 pioneering African-American aviator Charles A. Anderson persuaded Crenchaw to become a flight instructor for the newly formed Tuskegee Airmen. He served in that capacity from 1941 until 1946, training hundreds of African American cadets and pilots at various airfields around Tuskegee Institute.

Also, Edmond Davis, Professor, Department of General Studies, Arkansas Baptist College, will be giving a short presentation before the movie about the historical significance of the movie and how it ties to the history of Taborian Hall and the Dreamland Ballroom.

Edmond Davis is an Instructor of History at Arkansas Baptist College in Little Rock, Arkansas.  His Master’s degree in History is from Louisiana Technical University, while his undergraduate degree was earned at Grambling State University.  Davis is believed to have the largest collection of Arkansas Tuskegee Airmen history memorabilia in the country.  The Edmond Davis Collection is currently on display at the Mosaic Templar’s Cultural Center, and has been viewed at the University of Arkansas Pine Bluff, and the Little Rock National Airport.  

The movie will start at sunset with concessions available starting at 7:30pm.  We will have hotdogs, popcorn, drinks, chips, and more.  The screenings are projected on the back of the historic Arkansas Flag and Banner building, also known as Taborian Hall, with the audio broadcast through your car radio.  Viewers should find their spot in the rear parking lot behind Arkansas Flag and Banner.

Admission is Free but donations are accepted for both cars and walk ups.  Walk ups should bring their own lawn chairs. Arkansas Flag and Banner is located at 800 West 9th Street in downtown Little Rock. For more information on the ongoing work on the ballroom, visit www.dreamlandballroom.org/.

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