Famed Tuskegee Airman, Chief Anderson, to be Immortalized with USPS Stamp

WWII hero, C. Alfred “Chief” Anderson of the legendary Tuskegee Airmen will be honored by the United States Postal Service with issuance of a USPS two-ounce postal stamp, March 13, 2014, 1:00 PM at Bryn Mawr College–Mcpherson Auditorium, 101 North Merion Ave, Bryn Mawr, PA, 19010-2899 (Anderson’s hometown).

Famed Tuskegee Airman, Chief Anderson, to be Immortalized with USPS Stamp

Famed Tuskegee Airman, Chief Anderson, to be Immortalized with USPS Stamp

This will be the first postal stamp issued for a Tuskegee Airmen–the nation’s first African-American military aviators.

According to Mark Saunders, USPS Corporate Communications, 40,000 stamp proposals are received annually and the process for issuing a stamp can take up to four years.

C. Alfred “Chief,” Anderson, known by the world as the “Father of Black Aviation,” is revered for his role as lead flight instructor for the Tuskegee Airmen and for his groundbreaking flight with First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt in 1941, which helped to secure funding for the Tuskegee Airmen program. During a time when widespread perspective was that African-Americans were incapable of flight, due to a 1925 United States War Department study; Anderson stunned the nation {and Secret Service} with his now famous flight with the First Lady.

Having obtained a pilots licence in 1932, Anderson was the only African American in the nation qualified to serve as a flight instructor. The rigorous training programs he soon began employing pushed the boundaries of aviation at the time. Anderson provided instruction at Tuskegee Institute to eager Black pilots–and later White pilots. He instructed countless military and civilian pilots including current Tuskegee Mayor Jhonny Ford and close friend Lionel Richie, who was moved days ago to produce a stirring video in reflection of his relationship with Anderson: tinyurl.com/l6lmctt

Anderson’s instruction enabled Tuskegee Airmen aviators to exact thousands of sorties during WWII in the European theater, destroying more than a hundred German aircraft.

Members of the famed unite have received scores of Distinguished Flying Crosses and collectively were presented replicas of the Congressional Gold Medal in 2007, by then President George W. Bush–however a U.S. postal stamp is an honor many have long awaited for the Tuskegee Airmen.

“Good Night and See You in the Morning:” Lillian Lewis, Wife of Rep. John Lewis Remembered

John Lewis' wife Lillian Lewis buried

Lillian Lewis, wife of U.S. Rep. John Lewis laid to rest. (Photo credit:  Dann Finkles)

ATLANTA — “Compassionate yet compulsive.” “A work horse, not a show horse.” “A woman who did not just come and occupy space…”

Described for her many attributes, both charming and impressive –though she found comfort in being a life partner and confidant behind the scenes, Lillian Lewis, 73, an outspoken civil rights activist and the wife of U.S. Rep. John Lewis, was laid to rest on Monday, Jan. 7.

Hundreds gathered in Atlanta for the homegoing services of Mrs. Lewis, at the Ebenezer Baptist Church, where she and husband John Lewis married 44-years earlier to the exact date of her passing on New Year’s Eve, 2012.

Remembered for her discipline, voracious appetite for knowledge, dependability, and common-sense in a society commonly lacking sense, Lillian was commended for being a key motivator in encouraging the congressman’s entry into politics. With Lillian by his side, John Lewis became the second African-American [after Andrew Young] to represent the state of Georgia in Congress following Reconstruction, and successfully won 13 bids for reelection.

While many including the Rev. Jesse Jackson Sr., and Trumpet Awards founder and best friend to Lillian, Xernona Clayton, spoke idyllically of rough patches over the course of their friendship; Lillian’s “rare innate ability to make everyone feel special,” was a domineering theme.

Distinctive attributes including her affinity for sweets, and bright colors; and her devotion to the Atlanta University Center, Peace Corps and towards Africa were also highlighted.

National and local legislators, the full body of the Atlanta city council, along with Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed; and fellow activist including the sister of Martin Luther King Jr., Christine King-Farris, and former UN Ambassador Andrew Young, gathered to pay final respects to Lillian.

“I doubt any member of Congress had a better-informed spouse,” said Farris.

Rep. Lewis has largely been regarded as one of the “Big Six” foot soldiers of the civil rights movement, as a founder of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), which subjected him to violent confrontations and atrocious beatings; and for his work with King. In 2011, he was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by Obama, the highest civilian honor.

A friend and confidant to her husband; and fiercely trusted, Lillian and John Lewis were introduced by the matchmaking Clayton during a New Year’s Eve dinner party—the shared date of Lillian’s passing.

Clayton initiated the affectionate courtship with the icebreaker: “John, you got a girl?

Xernona and Lillian themselves were first introduced by King. Lillian and John later went on to wed during the year of King’s assassination in 1968.

Lillian was stricken in later years by illness, and cared for in a nursing home. But friends said she was a God-fearing woman, and many observed the occasion as a tribute, rather than a final goodbye.

“Lillian was a peace-loving, freedom-fighting woman,” said the Rev. Jesse Jackson.

“Good night and see you in the morning,” remarked Ebenezer Senior Pastor Emeritus, Dr. Joseph L. Roberts.