BIRMINGHAM, AL (July 11, 2023) — The Greater Birmingham Convention and Visitors Bureau had the distinct pleasure of joining members of the Greater Philadelphia Chapter of the Tuskegee Airmen on a recent tour of Birmingham’s own Southern Museum of Flight.
97-year-old Dr. Eugene Richardson, a former Tuskegee Airman, as well as 98-year-old Ms. Alma Bailey, a former Army Nurse Cadet in Tuskegee, were a part of the reunion group who enjoyed a tour of the facility, led by the Museum’s Executive Director, Dr. Brian Barsanti. The group chose to visit Birmingham in part due to its Civil Rights history, and to visit the Tuskegee Airmen Exhibit at the Museum.
“It’s like coming home [to] my birthplace as a pilot,” said Dr. Richardson when speaking with AL.com columnist Roy S. Johnson. “My success at Tuskegee told me I had the ability to do most anything I wanted to do. I got my doctorate in education and retired as the principal of a middle school.
“They speak of Tuskegee Airmen as the men who changed our country.”
“It brings tears to my eyes because we came [to Tuskegee] way back in 1943,” explained Ms. Bailey. “I was one of 56 nurses, and we were very, very, important. All the soldiers and the nurses had to stay together.”
“My class graduated in March of 1945, and the war ended that May,” said Dr. Richardson. “When Hitler heard I was coming over there he figured that was enough.”
The Southern Museum of Flight opened in 1966 and is one of the largest aviation museums in the Southeast. The Museum is dedicated to preserving civilian, military, and experimental aircraft and memorabilia from the earliest history of powered flight. Included in the Tuskegee Airmen Exhibit are two plane models that Dr. Richardson trained in at Tuskegee in the 1940’s, a BT13 and a T6, and the Museum is also currently restoring the only B25 still in existence that was flown by Tuskegee Airmen during World War II.
The general public can check out everything the Museum has to offer from 9:00am – 4:00pm, Tuesday through Saturday, at 4343 73rd Street North, Birmingham, AL 35206. Admission is $10 for adults, $8 for kids, and $5 for active military members and their families, while children aged three and under get in free.
Looking to learn more about the Southern Museum of Flight? Head to southernmuseumofflight.org.
A popular destination for reunions, the Greater Birmingham Region hosts more than 250 groups from around the country each year. The GBCVB’s complimentary pre-planning services include assistance with contacting hotels, caterers, attractions, area parks, charter companies and more, so that you can focus on reconnecting with family, friends and classmates. Learn more about the GBCVB’s reunion services at birminghamal.org/reunion-planning/.