Projects Willa Brown: An American Aviator

[Short Film - Documentary]

In 1937, Willa Brown earned a commercial pilot’s license in Chicago. She and her husband, Cornelius Coffey, organized a fully accredited flying school providing flight instruction for men and women, black and white. Willa was the organizing force in the creation of the National Airmen’s Association, whose mission was to lobby Congress for the integration of the Army Air Corps. Her efforts were directly responsible for the creation of the renowned Tuskegee Airmen, which led to the integration of the US military services in 1948. This documentary tells the story of early black aviation and the extraordinary individuals who shaped this part of civil rights history.

28 minutes


A film by Severo Perez
Cinematography by Virgil Harper
Still photography by Carlos Rene Perez

Distributed by Alexander Street Press, 2008-present

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