Air Force Lt. Col. Luke Weathers, Jr was among 900 Tuskegee Airmen who were U.S. pilots during World War II. An estimated 250 to 300 Tuskegee airmen are still alive today.
He now lies buried at Arlington Cemetery with honors as the nation honors the achievements of black pilots in World War II who fought racism and prejudice to serve and die for the country they loved.
The ceremony comes on the heels of a new film by sci-fi director George Lucas released Friday about the Tuskegee Airmen. The movie ‘Red Tails’ is about a group of black World War II pilots who fight against racism and prejudice during the war flying fighter planes. Lt. Col. Luke Weathers fought in the Red Tail squadron, who distinguished their planes from others by painting the tails of their planes red.
Lucas slams Hollywood studios for lack of interest in the film because of all black cast“It’s because it’s an all-black movie,” he told Jon Stewart during a Daily Show appearance last week. “There’s no major white roles in it at all … I showed it to all of them and they said, ‘No. We don’t know how to market a movie like this.’ “
The film hits theaters Friday. “If we can get over $20 million in our first weekend, we’re kind of in the game. We’re in ‘The Help’ category,” Lucas told The Times.
“If it gets $30 (million) in the first weekend, then those guys get to make their movies without even thinking about it,” he continued.
Lucas has wanted to make the film for nearly 23 years, and computers have helped to make the film possible he says.
Before the Tuskegee Airmen were formed in 1941, black men were forbidden to fly for the U.S. military, even though they could be drafted. After years of struggle, the Army Air Corps began to allow African Americans to train for flight, albeit in still-segregated units.
Black men were allowed to fly fighter planes in 1941 after years of struggle. Before then, they could be drafted but were not allowed to fly.
The Tuskegee Airmen were named so because the pilots trained from 1941 to 1949 at the Tuskegee Institute in Alabama founded by Booker T. Washington.