I have been to the St. Louis Lambert International Airport many times, and like anyone else, I admire the view. So much so, I stumbled upon the permanent exhibition that features some stunning artwork.
The exhibition is funded entirely by the Art of Travel Gala, and donations by the Regional Art Commission and others. The Lambert Art & Cultural Program is a reflection of St. Louis Lambert’s rich cultural history.
What mainly caught my eye was a painting of an African-American pilot. After careful observation, I noticed that he was Joseph Elsberry, and that on July 12th, 1944, he downed three enemy aircrafts in a single mission. I was shocked that as a little tot in school, this was never discussed.
However, I am so proud of the city of St. Louis for honoring him and other Blacks who have made a huge sacrifice for our country in aviation. There are so many others, but he was the one that caught my attention.
I think all the schools in the area should take their children to see this permanent exhibition. Let them be proud and motivate them to stay in school and follow the paths of so many of those who kept us free.
Dedicated to honor African-American achievements in aviation, Black Americans in Flight has been on display since 1990. The five panel mural is eight feet in height and runs 51 feet in length. The artwork pays tribute to African-American achievements in aviation from 1917 onward. The historic mural includes 75 portraits, 18 aircrafts, five unit patches and one spacecraft.
About the Artists: In 1986, the Committee for the Aviation Mural Project Success commissioned St. Louis artist, Spencer Taylor. He was tasked with creating a mural to initially honor St. Louis African-American pilots that flew in World War II, also known as Tuskegee Airmen. Enlisted to help Taylor with the mural was Solomon Thurman, who at the time, was also a local-based artist. Today, he is the co-owner of St. Louis’ 10th Street Gallery.
Photos by Associated Press