port of harlem magazine
paranormal sagas
John C. Robinson
International Aviation Pioneer (1903-1954) United States
Dec 14 – Dec 27, 2023
Praising the Past

john c robinson

The Honoree

In 1931, two years after the start of the Great Depression, John C. Robinson co-founded Robbins Airport, America’s first Black airport. During its short life, the airport created its own legacy, including being the site where ten of the original Tuskegee Airmen learned to fly.

In April 1935, when Italy attacked Ethiopia, Ethiopian Emperor Haile Selassie wired an official invitation to Robinson offering him an officer's commission in the fledging Ethiopian Air Force. Robinson accepted and was later named the commander of the Air Force and played a role in the foundation of Ethiopian Airlines. Because of his work and influence in aviation, Robinson is often considered the Father of the Tuskegee Airmen and the Father of Ethiopian Airlines.

Robbins, Illinois

The village of Robbins was incorporated in 1917 and named for Henry E. Robbins, a White real estate developer who laid out the village's early subdivisions. The village, as small towns are called in Illinois, “was a place for recently arrived southern Blacks who wanted to maintain a rural lifestyle, but be close enough to the jobs in Chicago,” says Tyrone Haymore, historian/curator of the Robbins History Museum.
One of Robbins' most famous resident’s home, that of entrepreneur S.B. Fuller, is being preserved for a museum. Other noted persons from this small village include Nichelle Nichols, Dwyane Wade, Keke Palmer, and Mr. T, and is home of the nation’s first Black airport.

robbins illinois

The Artist's Creative Explanation

“In the creation of this acrylic painting, I was inspired by Robinson’s life and the era in which the legend was born. Old black and white movies and their ability to bring back memories also inspired me to use sepia tones. I created this painting in various sepia tones from burnt sienna to yellow ochra light to show homage to the era that the Black Condor made his reputation.”

- willlie c cordy jr

- Artist Willie C. Cordy, Jr.

About "From These Shores"

From These Shores celebrates the accomplishments of 18 known and lesser-known Africans in the diaspora across time and geography. The 12 panels hang at the Juffureh Slavery Museum, The Gambia and online. Timbooktoo Bookstore in New Bakau, The Gambia and Mansa Musa Restaurant in Takoma Park, MD USA each display one of the panels.

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