"Red Tails" co-star visited hometown LaGrange for movie premiere - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

"Red Tails" co-star, Elijah Kelley, visited hometown LaGrange for movie premiere

A new film depicting the lives of the heroes of the Tuskegee Airmen flew into theaters Friday. 

It is a story of an experimental training program for African-American pilots who were called to duty in World War II. 

During the night of the premier, some people in LaGrange gathered to recognize the town's own Tuskegee Airman: Willie Fuller.

"He had never dreamed growing up that he would be flying with the US as a member of a group like the Tuskegee Airmen," said Kaye Minchew with the Troup County Historical Society.

Fuller's story is part of an exhibit that opened Friday at the Legacy Museum and Troup County Archives in LaGrange.

However, the town has one more connection to this history.  LaGrange native Elijah Kelley has a role in the film portraying Samuel "Joker" George, a fictional character based on one of these airmen.

"The Tuskegee Airmen are American heroes.  They happened to be African Americans, but this is an American story.  It is a travesty that this story is nowhere in our curriculum," said Kelley.

Kelley visited LaGrange Friday for the opening of the movie and to see the exhibit.  He explains three real Tuskegee Airmen, like Fuller, were on set to help the actors understand their characters.

"They would come over to you and jack you up by your pants and straighten your jacket up.  [They would] Do all this rugged stuff and look you in the eye and say, ‘This is how we did it. This is how we walked, this is what we said,'" said Kelley.

The actor says he has one goal for this movie.

'"For no one, no student, no teacher, no citizen of the United States to ever have to ask who are the Tuskegee Airmen again."

Kelley also found out this week that his song "Light Years" that he wrote, produced, and sang is the official song of the movie Red Tails.

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