Bisignano Art Gallery to Feature "12: America's First Black Tuskegee Airmen"By Stacey Ortman
DUBUQUE, Iowa - The University of Dubuque's Bisignano Art Gallery will open its next exhibit, "12: America's First Black Tuskegee Airmen," during the Captain Robert L. Martin Black Heritage Tribute Kick-Off Event on Monday, September 27, 2021, in Heritage Center.
"12: America's First Black Tuskegee Airmen" will showcase the history, mission, and legacy of these military pilots who were members of the Tuskegee Airmen, a Black segregated aviator group in the US Army Air Corps. Among the 12 will be Captain Robert L. Martin, a local hero who grew up in Dubuque. The other airmen who will be featured are Paul Adams (Greenville, South Carolina), Alfred "Chief" Anderson (Tuskegee, Alabama), William Armstrong (Providence, Rhode Island), Robert Ashby (Jersey City, New Jersey), Howard Lee Baugh (Petersburg, Virginia), James Everett Bowman (Des Moines, Iowa), Milton Crenchaw (Little Rock, Arkansas), Elwood "Woody" Thomas Driver (Trenton, New Jersey), Robert Friend (New York, New York), Wendell Oliver Pruitt (St. Louis, Missouri), and William E. "Woody" Rice (Swarthmore, Pennsylvania).
"Their strength of character, courage, and ability to triumph over adversity allowed them to achieve their goals during World War II. Now it is time for the public to know who they are and what they did," said Alan Garfield, director of the art gallery.
"12: America's First Black Tuskegee Airmen" is free and open to the public 7:30 p.m. Monday, September 27, 2021, through Sunday, October 3, 2021 , in the gallery, Heritage Center, 2255 Bennett St.
Gallery hours are noon to 5:00 p.m. Monday through Friday during the academic year. The gallery is also open in conjunction with all major events in John and Alice Butler Hall, Heritage Center. "12: America's First Black Tuskegee Airmen" will also be available virtually at gallery.dbq.edu.
The Captain Robert L. Martin Black Heritage Tribute Kick-Off Event will begin at 6:30 p.m. in John and Alice Butler Hall with a program featuring speakers who will underscore the life and legacy of Captain Martin. The event will continue at 7:30 p.m. with the opening of "12: America's First Black Tuskegee Airmen." Near the art gallery will be "Unconditional Loyalty: The Military Service of African Americans," a portable exhibit from the African American Museum of Iowa in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Complimentary refreshments will be available.
The evening will conclude with a screening of Red Tails, a 2012 film about the Tuskegee Airmen, at 8:00 p.m. in John and Alice Butler Hall.
"12: America's First Black Tuskegee Airmen" will be held in conjunction with RISE ABOVE: Tuskegee Airmen Traveling Outdoor Exhibit, which is one of numerous events included in UD's Captain Robert L. Martin Black Heritage Tribute initiative. Free to attend, RISE ABOVE will be held Wednesday, Sept. 29, 2021, through Sunday, Oct. 3, 2021, at the Dubuque Regional Airport Quonset Hut, 11038 Airport Road.
RISE ABOVE is a unique traveling exhibit that allows audiences to not only learn but also experience the inspiring stories of the Tuskegee Airmen and Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASP) while being immersed in a theatrical experience. RISE ABOVE will be open to the public on the following dates and times:
- Wednesday, September 29, to Friday, October 1, 2021, from 4:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. Film showings will occur every 45 minutes starting at 4:15 p.m. with the final showing at 7:15 p.m.
- Saturday, October 2, to Sunday, October 3, 2021, from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Film showings will occur every 45 minutes starting at 9:00 a.m. with the final showing at 4:30 p.m.
Radio Dubuque is the exclusive broadcast media sponsor of RISE ABOVE.
Captain Robert L. Martin Black Heritage Tribute programming is made possible, in part, through the City of Dubuque's Arts and Culture Special Projects grant funds and in partnership with the Dubuque Regional Airport.
The Captain Robert L. Martin Commemoration Committee is fundraising to name the Dubuque Regional Airport terminal in honor of Captain Martin.