C. Alfred "Chief" Anderson Original Painting
Acrylic on wood canvas
C. Alfred “Chief” Anderson (February 9, 1907 – April 13, 1996) was a Tuskegee Airman. He was the Ground Commander and Chief Aviation Instructor of the Tuskegee Institute, America's first all-black fighter squadron.
While African Americans were not allowed to become pilots in the military, the Tuskegee training program became a pivotal experiment that would change all military branches forever. The military was segregated and the Tuskegee Institute was one of the catalyst to integrate blacks and whites.
Anderson attended a civilian ground aviation school where he learned about airplane mechanics. He spent a lot of time hanging around airports and absorbing as much information as he could. He eventually bought his own plane and taught himself how to fly.
In 1940, he was recruited to be the Civilian Aviation Instructor at the Tuskegee Institute and quickly became the Ground Commander and Chief Aviation Instructor of the entire program.
Anderson was responsible for training over a thousand young African Americans.
First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt visited the institute and told Anderson she always heard that “colored people couldn’t fly”. Despite protest about her safety, Anderson took Eleanor Roosevelt on a flight. She became an advocate for black aviation.
He was known as “the “Father of Black Aviation”
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