Tuskegee Airmen film ‘Red Tails’ screened at White House

WASHINGTON — Star Wars creator George Lucas may have had a tough time getting Hollywood interested in a movie about the Tuskegee Airmen, but he has the attention of President Barack Obama.

The president and first lady Michelle Obama planned to screen Lucas’ film, “Red Tails,” Friday at the White House, ahead of the movie’s Jan. 20 release in theaters.

Lucas, a few cast members and some original Tuskegee Airmen were expected to be among the Obamas’ guests, said Trent Dudley, president of the Washington, D.C., Tuskegee Airmen chapter.

Dudley, a retired Air Force lieutenant colonel, called the White House screening “a tremendous recognition of all the contributions the airmen made not only in World War II but the fight against racism.”

The Tuskegee Airmen were the first black aviators in the United States military. They were trained in Alabama at Tuskegee Institute, now Tuskegee University, during World War II as a segregated unit. After being admitted to the Army Air Corps, they were prohibited from fighting alongside white counterparts and faced severe prejudice but went on to become one of World War II’s most respected fighter squadrons.

They set themselves apart from other military aviators by painting the tails of their planes red.

The airmen were honored with the Congressional Gold Medal in 2007.

Lucas has spoken freely about his 23-year struggle to make the film, which has an all-black cast, and get studios to market it.

“I figured I could get the prints and ads paid for by the studios, and they would release it, and I showed it to all of them, and they said, “No,” Lucas told Jon Stewart in an appearance on The Daily Show earlier this week.

“It’s because it’s an all-black movie; there’s not major white roles in it at all. It’s one of the first all-black action pictures ever made,” Lucas said.

Lionel Spearman, a 1988 graduate of Tuskegee University, said he’s driving an hour to Greenville, S.C. for a showing of the film this weekend and is trying to organize friends to meet him there.

He said the screening of the film by the president sends a message. But he said it won’t be as effective in Hollywood as having millions of people turn out to see the movie “and they look at the numbers and say, ‘Wow, we were wrong.’ “

More in Local News

Everett district relents on eminent domain moving expenses

Homeowners near Bothell still must be out by April to make way for a planned new high school.

Their grown children died, but state law won’t let them sue

Families are seeking a change in the state’s limiting wrongful-death law.

Officials rule train-pedestrian death an accident

The 37-year-old man was trying to move off the tracks when the train hit him, police say.

Ex-Monroe cop re-arrested after losing sex crime case appeal

He was sentenced to 14 months in prison but was free while trying to get his conviction overturned.

Marysville hit-and-run leaves man with broken bones

The state patrol has asked for help solving an increasing number of hit-and-run cases in the state.

Everett man killed at bar had criminal history, gang ties

A bar employee reportedly shot Matalepuna Malu, 29, whose street name was “June Bug.”

There’s plenty to cheer in overdue capital budget

In Snohomish County, there’s money for a number of projects.

Parking a constant problem at Wallace Falls State Park

There’s a study under way on how to tackle that issue and others.

Front Porch

EVENTS Autoharpist in Everett Folksinger, storyteller and autoharp virtuoso Adam Miller returns… Continue reading

Most Read