Fri June 22, 2012
June 25, 1945 was Captain Luke Weathers Day.
He was honored with a parade down Beale Street to Handy Park, where he became the first black man to receive a key to the city of Memphis.
Weathers had a distinguished war record. He was the only Memphian to become a Tuskegee Airman. Weathers flew 71 missions over Europe and shot down seven German fighters.
Returning from combat in 1943, he became the symbol of the local African American bond drive that raised $1.5 million. This sum was the most money raised by any African American group.
In honor of the achievement, a B-24 Liberator was named “the Spirit of Beale Street.”
A painting of Weathers' fighter escorting a disabled B24 bomber hangs in the office of the Air Force Chief of Staff.