Charles Alfred “Chief” Anderson will be honored this week in his hometown of Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania in recognition of his commemorative stamp issued by the U.S. Postal Service. Anderson was a pioneering Black aviator who became the lead trainer for the Tuskegee Airmen.
As we detailed in our Little Known Black History Fact, Anderson flew then First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt on a short flight, and she convinced her husband Franklin Delano Roosevelt to approve the Tuskegee flight training program. Anderson’s granddaughter, Christina, runs his foundation and has fond memories of the time she spent with her grandfather.
“He flew everyday, so me and Grandad would go up in one of his two planes and everyone else who flew with granddad would say the same thing, he would always fall asleep, but he was faking us out. We would fly together. He was a great grandfather. He really didn’t talk a lot about his accomplishments when I was growing up with him. We just had granddad/granddaughter time.”
The famous picture Anderson took with Roosevelt wasn’t part of the artwork considered for the stamp, according to Christina. The Postal Service focused on the man himself, requesting photos of him alone.
“From what I understand no, because the artist did request pictures of Chief Anderson. The picture is an artist rendering. I don’t think the picture with Eleanor Roosevelt was considered,” Christina says.
The commemorative stamp will be issued on March 13th. A stamp dedication ceremony open to the public will take place at Bryn Mawr College at 1 p.m. at McPherson Auditorium’s Goodhart Hall followed by a concert benefit at 6 p.m. featuring Eric Roberson and Ben O’Neill hosted by Rodney Perry at the same location.
You can purchase tickets here. The concert will benefit the Chief Anderson Legacy Foundation, which advances careers in aviation among young people, and also will raise funds to erect a statue of Anderson to be place at the Tuskegee Airmen National Historic site at Moton Field in Tuskegee, Alabama.