You could go to the AMC Owings Mills 17 Theater and take in a showing of the World War II aviation adventure "Red Tails," or if you were one of dozens of lucky students at Old Court Middle School last week, you got to see some of those legendary black pilots in person.
On Jan. 25, two distinguished members of the famed Tuskegee Airmen, also known as the "Red Tails", visited Old Court Middle School. They were Dr. Cyril O. Byron Sr., who served with the U.S, Army Air Force 99th Fighter Squadron, 332nd Fighter Group, and Lemuel Arthur Lewie Jr., who served with the U.S. Army Air Force 477th Bomber Group.
The Tuskegee Airmen, the first African-American military pilots to fly for the United States armed forces, flew more than 250 bomber escort missions into Germany during World War ll without losing a single bomber to enemy aircraft fire.
Byron and Lewie spoke to students about their experiences as Tuskegee Airmen and their careers after the war. After the war, both airmen became prominent educators in Baltimore.
Byron served on the faculty of Coppin State College for 23 years and was an administrator for nine years at Baltimore City Community College. Lewie, who is President of Lewie Consolidated Enterprises, was a teacher at Carver Vocational Technical High School for 28 years.
Their visit to Old Court was the highlight of the school's day-long schedule of lectures, presentations and discussions that were held in Old Court's World Cultures classes.
Topics of these educational sessions included "Medieval and Military History," "Jewish Culture and Traditions," "African-American History" (Benjamin Banneker and Frederick Douglas) and exploring careers in county government and environmental protection.
This event was hosted by the Social Studies Department, staff, students and PTA of Old Court.
Local chapter members of Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc., Rogers Barnes and Dwight Joseph, arranged for the Tuskegee Airmen to visit Old Court Middle School. Byron and Lewie are both members of Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity.