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Family First Presented by Novant Health: You Can Fly: Literary + Spoken Word Workshop

All ages
Museum admission, free for members
  • About This Program

    It’s a family affair! Come out and meet author Carole Boston Weatherford and illustrator Jeffery Boston Weatherford, the mother and son duo who created the award-winning children's book You Can Fly: The Tuskegee Airmen. Carole and Jeffery will also share poems and spoken word relevant to the Black Lives Matter movement.

    This month’s program includes two exciting segments for children of all ages — a literary reading + illustrator talk as well as a hip hop/spoken word poetry workshop!


    11:00 AM - 12:00 PM
    Literary reading + illustrator talk: Enjoy a reading of poems from the book, You Can Fly, learn about the brave Tuskegee Airmen and engage with the illustrator on the illustration process for a book.

    12:00 PM – 2:00 PM
    Spoken word poetry workshop: You Can Fly illustrator, Jeffery Weatherford, will lead a writing workshop where participants will create rap lyrics that uplift the values of the Tuskegee Airmen.


    The famed Tuskegee Airmen defied racist stereotypes and distinguished themselves in combat. During World War II, the so-called Tuskegee Experiment sought to determine whether blacks were fit to fly in combat. The black pilots and their crews battled not only fascism overseas but also racism on the home front—all while being treated as second class citizens.

    These heroic pilots flew 205 bombing missions—200 without losing one bomber—and destroyed one enemy destroyer (with bullets alone!), 262 German planes and 950 vehicles. Their record of valor led to the desegregation of the U.S. military, paving the way for Civil Rights Movement.

    Seventy-five years after the Tuskegee Airmen fought for democracy, civil rights and grassroots groups such as Black Lives Matter are still battling hate violence and police brutality. 

    You Can Fly: The Tuskegee Airmen

    By Carole Boston Weatherford, Illustrated by Jeffery Boston Weatherford
    Publisher: Atheneum/Simon & Schuster
    Age Level: 9-up

    Praise and Honors: A gripping historical story, reinforced by dramatically shaded scratchboard illustrations by [Jeffery Weatherford], making a notable debut.—Publishers Weekly (starred review). A masterful, inspiring evocation of an era.—Kirkus Reviews (starred review)


    Jeffery Boston WeatherfordA multitalented children’s book illustrator, fine artist and spoken word poet, Jeffery Boston Weatherford is founder of the global online hip hop collective Triiibe Worldwide. His debut book is You Can Fly: The Tuskegee Airmen. He conducts school presentations as well as art and hip hop writing workshops. He has presented in the U.S. and West Africa and his fine art has shown in North Carolina, Maryland and Washington, D.C. He designed and published the books Dear Mr. Rosenwald: The School that Hope Built, Princeville: The 500-Year Flood and A Bat Cave: An Abecedarian Bedtime Chronicle.

    Jeffery holds a Master of Fine Arts degree from Howard University, where he was a Romare Bearden Scholar. A North Carolina native, he now lives near Washington, D.C.


    Carole Boston WeatherfordBooks by New York Times best-selling author Carole Boston Weatherford have received three Caldecott Honor Medals, multiple Coretta Scott King awards and honors, two NAACP Image Awards, the Boston Globe/Horn Book Honor and the Carter G. Woodson Award from National Council for the Social Studies.

    Her 50-plus titles include Moses: When Harriet Tubman Led Her People to Freedom; Freedom in Congo Square; Voice of Freedom: Fannie Lou Hamer, Spirit of the Civil Rights Movement; Gordon Parks: How the Photographer Captured Black and White America, and Before John Was a Jazz Giant: A Song of John Coltrane. Her latest picture books are The Legendary Miss Lena Horne, In Your Hands, Dorothea Lange: How the Photographer Found the Faces of the Depression; and Schomburg: The Man Who Built a Library.

    Recipient of the North Carolina Award for literature, Carole teaches at Fayetteville State University.

    Family First is generously sponsored by:

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