by Stephanie Haines, Director of Artist Programs
If you have not had a chance to see Rochel Garner Coleman’s program “Tuskegee Airmen of WWII,” I highly recommend bringing it to your school. When I first heard about the “Tuskegee Airmen of WWII” program, I was excited about the topic. African American history embedded in an untold story of adventure and intrigue was sure to keep our student audiences in full attention. After learning about Indiana’s connections to the Tuskegee Airmen I was even more hooked. This is a story that NEEDED to be told in our schools. Finally when I saw this program performed live by the fantastic storyteller and actor Rochel Garner Coleman, I was beyond impressed. Coleman’s ability to share the real-life story of Charles H. Debow Jr., an African American pilot in the segregated 99th fighter squadron, in a way that both inspired and educated was amazing. Debow was an Indianapolis native who graduated with the first class of African American men trained by the Army Air Corps at the Tuskegee Air Field. Debow and his fellow pilots, ‘The Red Tails’ as they were also known, became sought after as one of the most elite bomber escorts in World War II.
Rochel Garner Coleman’s one man show brings this World War II history to life through the real life story of Captain Charles H Debow. His masterful storytelling carries the audiences from training camp to war time flying and the homecoming thereafter. With minimal costuming and backdrops, Coleman is able to put you right in the seat of the fighter plane.
If you have not had “Tuskegee Airmen of WWII” visit your school yet, I have to ask, What are you waiting for??!