Eastern Michigan University EMU HOME
 
About EMUFuture StudentsCurrent StudentsAcademics & ResearchFaculty & StaffAlumni & FriendsAthletics & RecreationNews & Events

April 8, 2005
CONTACT: Carol Anderson 734.487.4400
carol.anderson@emich.edu

Vereen to go "Soaring On Black Wings" with president of Tuskegee Airmen

YPSILANTI - Sometimes art imitates life.

Tony Award winner Ben Vereen is working on a stage production at Eastern Michigan University about the spirit of African American pilots, most notably the Tuskegee Airmen.

He will get the opportunity to fly with a representative of the Tuskegee Airmen Monday, April 11, as he joins Dr. Brian Smith, National President of the Tuskegee Airmen Inc. The two will take an aerial tour of Detroit that will depart from the Coleman A. Young International Airport (formerly City Airport of Detorit) at 11 a.m., weather permitting.

The two men will be flying in a Bellanca Super Viking owned by Smith.

There are approximately 150 Tuskegee Airmen living in the Detroit area, about 40 of whom served in World War II.

"The Tuskegee Airmen overcame racial prejudice and proved that African Americans are and can be the best in the world," said Smith. "They paved the way for men like Ben Vereen who also had to fight for the right to compete on a level playing field. They knocked down racial prejudice making life easier for me and I in turn will do my best to educate the next generation of youth to continue the work of the Tuskegee Airmen."

The Tuskegee Airmen Museum, which currently is located in historic Fort Wayne, in Detroit, will be moving to the Coleman A. Young International Airport.

Vereen is the current McAndless Scholar in Humanities in EMU's College of Arts and Sciences. He has been working with EMU faculty, staff and students in the development of a stage production entitled "Soaring On Black Wings." The show focuses on the character of individuals who helped shape the "golden age of aviation" during the 1920's, 30s and 40s. It explores, through music and personal stories, the dreams of pioneers such as Bessie Coleman, Janet Harmon Bragg and others who trained at Tuskegee.

"Soaring On Black Wings," will be performed at EMU's Sponberg Theatre April 29 at 8 p.m. and April 30 at 2 and 8 p.m. Ticket prices are $10-$17 and can be purchased at the EMU Theatre Box Office. Call 734.487.1221.

Smith is a biomedical engineer for General Dynamics.

Organized as a non-military and non-profit entity, Tuskegee Airmen, Inc. exists primarily to motivate and inspire young Americans to become participants in our nation's society and its democratic process.

Eastern Michigan University is a public, comprehensive university that offers programs in the arts, sciences and professions. EMU prepares students with the intellectual skills and practical experiences to succeed in their careers and lives, and to be better citizens.

###


Eastern Michigan University is a public, comprehensive university that offers programs in the arts, sciences and professions. EMU prepares students with the intellectual skills and practical experiences to succeed in their career and lives, and to be better citizens.

Editor's Note: Looking for an expert source for a story? Check out EMU's Eastern Experts online at www.emich.edu/univcomm/easternexperts.


EMU Home | University Communications Home