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Red Tails is a Tale of Beating the Odds

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Leah Johnson is a University of Michigan- Dearborn graduate and she has a B.A. d
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on Wednesday, 08 February 2012
in Today in Black History

Leah Johnson offers her take on the film Red Tails which is the story of the Tuskegee Airmen.


Blacks lack intelligence, are cowardly under combat conditions and will never have what it takes to fly aircraft of any type”. – 1925 Army War College Study.


And with that quote, the film Red Tails begins.


I leaned over to my dad in the theatre and said “I love it already.” I hadn’t seen one combat scene and I was already all in.


The Tuskegee airmen story is not new to me. My grandpa often talks about them. He’s practically obsessed with them. So, the foundation and respect for these men was already there.


But, the day I saw Red Tails my respect for them grew even more.


I like their story simply because the odds were against them. They hadn’t even proven themselves yet and people were already waiting for them to fail.


Stepping up to the plate when there are strikes against you is never easy. I think it takes an extraordinary amount of mental toughness to tune out the negative vibes and perform as if your enemies were on your team.


That’s what they did. And they were successful.


They took the racism they faced and shoved it aside.  They proved their flying capabilities so well that U.S. bombers began requesting to be accompanied by the Red Tails on their missions.


If nothing else, I’ve learned from their example the importance of believing in myself. No matter how grim things look or how many people are waiting on me to fail, I have to believe in me.


I’ll probably never fly a plane in my life. But thanks in large part to these airmen, I’m reminded that success against all odds begins with believing you can beat the odds.


For more information and showtimes visit



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