SHANNON — A Lumberton native who was part of the historic World War II fighting force of black Americans, the Tuskegee Airmen, will be the featured speaker on Sunday when St. John Baptist Church holds its black history program.
The Rev. James Jimmy Jones will talk about his time with the Tuskegee Airmen, which was comprised of the 332nd Fighter Group and the 477th Bombardment Group of the United States Army Air Forces, the first air bombing groups manned by all black pilots and support staff.
Jones said his message is important to share because he often encounters young people who have never heard of the Tuskegee Airmen — except through the filter of Hollywood.
“I share with them that the movies that they saw was for entertainment,”Jones said. “Hollywood put that out. They want to entertain the audiences and make some money. However, I also share that war itself is hell because it is a situation of kill or be killed. That’s what war is all about.”
Jones was a crew chief on a P-47, a fighter aircraft.
“I was responsible for putting the plane in the air, making its mission and bringing the pilot back home. I had to sign off on all of that on paper to make sure that the plane was able to do its job and the pilot could do his job,” Jones said.
The Rev. Dennis Mims said it’s important that young people hear and are inspired by stories of perseverance such as Jones’.
“It doesn’t matter who you are, you can accomplish your goals despite many setbacks,” Mims said.
St. Baptist Church is located at 16737 N.C. 71 North, Shannon. The program starts at 3 p.m. on Sunday.
Reach Terri Ferguson Smith at 910-416-5865.