The Man Called Brown Condor: The Forgotten History of an African American Fighter Pilot

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Overview

How did a black child, growing up in segregationist Mississippi during the early 1900s, become the commander of the Imperial Ethiopian Air Corps during the brutal Italo-Ethiopian War of 1935? In this gripping, never-before-told tale, biographer Thoma

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The Man Called Brown Condor: The Forgotten History of an African American Fighter Pilot

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Overview

How did a black child, growing up in segregationist Mississippi during the early 1900s, become the commander of the Imperial Ethiopian Air Corps during the brutal Italo-Ethiopian War of 1935? In this gripping, never-before-told tale, biographer Thoma

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Simmons spent over 20 years researching the remarkable life of John D. Robinson, who rose from segregationist Mississippi to become a distinguished pilot, founder of the Tuskegee Institute's school of aviation, a bold defender of Ethiopia during the 1935 Italian invasion, and, finally, founder of the Ethiopian Air Force.
Kirkus Reviews
The forgotten history of John Charles Robinson (1903–1954), a pioneer African-American aviator and educator. Simmons (Forgotten Heroes of World War II, 2002, etc.) brings to life Robinson's inspiring struggle against racism through the story of how he rose to become the commander of Haile Selassie's air force in Ethiopia's attempt to defend itself against Mussolini's brutal invasion. The author traces how Robinson, a Tuskegee-educated auto mechanic, could not find employment up to his skill level in Gulfport, Miss., where he grew up. He left for Detroit to work as a mechanic but had to confront the prejudice that black men and aviation could not mix. He moved on again to Chicago, where he mastered aviation mechanics by auditing classes while employed as the office cleaner. When he couldn't afford a plane, members of the flying club he set up helped him to make one. Robinson's qualities were eventually recognized by the Curtiss-Wright aviation business. He organized flight schools and worked on a project to establish an aviation program at the Tuskegee Institute. Returning to America to a hero's welcome after fighting Mussolini, Robinson was able to awaken the public to what the country would need to do to fight its likely German and Italian enemies in the coming war. Simmons documents how Robinson again overcame prejudice working to develop the engineering and technical infrastructure that supported the segregated black units in World War II. Robinson's determination to succeed helped make the bomber escort units known as the Tuskegee Red Tails possible. He returned to Ethiopia after Mussolini's occupation to help rebuild the country's air service. An inspiring affirmation that celebrates the old adage that where there's a will, there's a way, even against seemingly impossible odds.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781620872178
  • Publisher: Skyhorse Publishing
  • Publication date: 2/7/2013
  • Pages: 320
  • Sales rank: 488,583
  • Product dimensions: 6.20 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

Thomas
E. Simmons grew up in Gulfport, Mississippi, and attended Marion Military Institute,
the US Naval Academy, the University of Southern Mississippi, and the
University of Alabama. He has been a pilot since the age of sixteen and participated in air shows, flying aerobatics in open-cockpit biplanes. In the late 1950s, he served as an artillery officer in Korea.
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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Posted July 5, 2013

    The Man Called Brown Condor was researched for 30 years by Tom S

    The Man Called Brown Condor was researched for 30 years by Tom Simmons with countless interviews, numerous trips, endless nights of study and one patient wife who encouraged and supported him through thick n thin. This is the biggest compliment to a man who has never received the recognition he so desperately deserves. "Can't" was never in his vocabulary. Young people today, black, white, Hispanic, oriental, etc,   should read this and follow his example. He proved that all you have to do is dream, believe in God and put one foot in front of the other. Bravo!!!  JeanieL

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