Welcome to the blog of the Henderson, Ky., Depot Community Room. The Community Room strives to promote a better understanding of Henderson, Ky., history and culture through special programs and exhibits. Our exhibit hall features the collections of the Henderson County Historical and Genealogical Society. The Community Room is funded by the City of Henderson, Ky., through the Henderson County Tourist Commission.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Exhibit to Highlight local African-American Pioneers in Arts, Industry and Community Service

We have been knee-deep for months in research for a new black history exhibit we have planned for late January and February. Undoubtedly African-Americans have played a huge role in the history and growth of the city, and have served America as pioneers and champions in arts, industry, service and Civil Rights.

William J. Powell, aviator

Pioneers like William Powell, a Henderson native who moved to Chicago after his father died. Powell felt there was boundless opportunity for African-Americans in the burgeoning aviation industry. He eventually became a pilot and then owner of his own aviation company in Los Angeles, California. He was dedicated to helping African-Americans pursue careers in aviation and enlisted the help of notable African-Americans like Joe Louis to donate their name to the cause. He also organized the first all-black air show, which attracted more than 15,000 spectators, and published the trade publication "Craftsman Aero-News."
He also wrote a thinly fictionalized autobiography called "Black Wings" and is featured in an online exhibit of the Smithsonian Institution's National Air and Space Museum.

There are many more African-Americans associated with Henderson whose talents, wisdom and perseverence paved the way for others, either nationally or here in their own community. We plan to highlight a few of these pioneers in our newest exhibit, which we hope to have finished in late January. Stay tuned to our blog, Facebook page and The Gleaner for further updates on our progress.

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