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Photographs

Collection Creator:
Craftsmen of Black Wings, Inc.  Search this
Container:
Box 62 (Shared), Folder 1
Type:
Archival materials
Photographs
Date:
Late 1930s
Collection Restrictions:
No restrictions on access.
Collection Rights:
Permissions Requests
Collection Citation:
William J. Powell (Craftsmen of Black Wings, Inc.) Photograph Collection, Accession 1996-0008, National Air and Space Museum, Smithsonian Institution.
See more items in:
William J. Powell (Craftsmen of Black Wings, Inc.) Photograph Collection
Archival Repository:
National Air and Space Museum Archives
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-nasm-1996-0008-ref10
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William J. Powell (Craftsmen of Black Wings, Inc.) Photograph Collection

Topic:
Craftsmen Aero News (journal)
Creator:
Craftsmen of Black Wings, Inc.  Search this
Names:
Bishop, Myrtle  Search this
Dickerson, Marie  Search this
Powell, William J., 1899-1942  Search this
Extent:
0.05 Cubic feet (1 folder in a shared box)
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Photographs
Date:
1928-1939
bulk 1937-1939
Scope and Contents:
This collection consists of 9 copy prints and 14 copy negatives. The bulk of the images were copied from issues of Craftsmen Aero News and relate to the Craftsmen of Black Wings organization, including photographs of William J. Powell, Marie Dickerson, and Myrtle Bishop.
Historical Note:
William J. Powell (1899-1942) was a prominent African-American entrepreneur and pilot who urged African-Americans to become part of the future aviation industry.

Powell was born in Henderson, Kentucky, on July 29, 1899. He moved to Chicago at the age of eight. He entered the University of Illinois in 1916. He went to Officers' Training Camp in Fort Des Moines, Iowa, in June 1917, and was commissioned as a First Lieutenant in the American Expeditionary Forces at the completion of training camp. He served with the 317th Engineers and 365th Infantry during World War I. After his honorable discharge in 1919, he returned to the University of Illinois, graduating with honors and a degree of Bachelor of Science in electrical engineering in 1922.

He worked as an electrical engineer and electric welding instructor for Rock Island Railroad for two years. In 1924, he opened his first filling station and in two years' time, he had built a successful automobile business in South Chicago before moving to Los Angeles in 1928.

During the late 1920s and 1930s, Powell worked tirelessly to promote airmindedness in the black community. Under his umbrella organization, Craftsmen of Black Wings, Inc., Powell wrote a thinly disguised autobiography, Black Wings, in 1934; wrote and directed a 1935 documentary film, Unemployment, the Negro and Aviation; and published a trade journal entitled Craftsmen Aero News (1937-1938). Powell was also instrumental in organizing the Bessie Coleman Aero Club and the "Five Blackbirds" demonstration team. William J. Powell died in July 1942.
Provenance:
NASM Generated. Images in this collection were copied by the NASM Branch Photo Lab from issues of Craftsmen Aero-News, which were loaned to Von Hardesty by Ted Robinson for copying and inclusion in the 1994 edition of Powell's book Black Wings.
Restrictions:
No restrictions on access.
Rights:
Permissions Requests
Topic:
Aeronautics  Search this
Aeronautics -- Societies, etc.  Search this
African Americans in aeronautics  Search this
Genre/Form:
Photographs
Citation:
William J. Powell (Craftsmen of Black Wings, Inc.) Photograph Collection, Accession 1996-0008, National Air and Space Museum, Smithsonian Institution.
Identifier:
NASM.1996.0008
See more items in:
William J. Powell (Craftsmen of Black Wings, Inc.) Photograph Collection
Archival Repository:
National Air and Space Museum Archives
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-nasm-1996-0008
Online Media:

William J. Powell Collection

Topic:
Craftsmen Aero News (journal)
Creator:
Powell, William J., 1899-1942  Search this
Names:
"Five Blackbirds" Demonstration Team  Search this
Bessie Coleman Aero Club  Search this
Craftsmen of Black Wings, Inc.  Search this
United States. Army. American Expeditionary Forces  Search this
Powell, William J., 1899-1942  Search this
Extent:
0.31 Cubic feet (1 shared legal-size box 1 flat box 1 oversize folder)
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Photographs
Clippings
Logs (records)
Date:
1917 - 1942
Summary:
The William J. Powell Collection consists of materials concerning the career and personal life of African-American entrepreneur and pilot William J. Powell, including his service in the American Expeditionary Forces (AEF) in World War I, his automobile business in Chicago, and his advocacy for African-American aviation as the founder of Craftsmen of Black Wings, Inc., author of Black Wings, and a primary organizer of the Bessie Coleman Aero Club and the "Five Blackbirds" demonstration team. Materials include identification and membership cards, flight logs and officer records, newspaper clippings, advertisements, and photographs.
Scope and Contents:
This collection contains materials concerning the career and personal life of African-American entrepreneur and pilot William J. Powell, including his service in the American Expeditionary Forces (AEF) in World War I, his automobile business in Chicago, and his advocacy for African-American aviation as the founder of Craftsmen of Black Wings, Inc., author of Black Wings, and a primary organizer of the Bessie Coleman Aero Club and the "Five Blackbirds" demonstration team.

The following types of materials are included: AEF identification card and records book, advertisements for his automobile business, his 1938-1939 flight logs, legal documents, marriage license, diploma, membership cards, burial and funeral records, and newspaper clippings. The collection also includes photographs from his time with the AEF and Bessie Coleman Aero Club, as well as portraits of Powell and his family. Materials found in the collection seem to indicate that some photographs have come from individuals other than Powell.
Arrangement:
The collection is arranged into three categories: Aviation Career (American Expeditionary Forces and African-Americans in Aviation), Personal Materials (marriage and death records, automobile business, and memberships), and Photographs (AEF, aviation, portraits and family, and albums). Within these categories, materials are arranged chronologically.
Biographical Note:
William J. Powell (1899-1942) was a prominent African-American entrepreneur and pilot who urged African-Americans to become part of the future aviation industry.

Powell was born in Henderson, Kentucky, on July 29, 1899. He moved to Chicago at the age of eight. He entered the University of Illinois in 1916. He went to Officers' Training Camp in Fort Des Moines, Iowa, in June 1917, and was commissioned as a First Lieutenant in the American Expeditionary Forces at the completion of training camp. He served with the 317th Engineers and 365th Infantry during World War I. After his honorable discharge in 1919, he returned to the University of Illinois, graduating with honors and a degree of Bachelor of Science in electrical engineering in 1922.

He worked as an electrical engineer and electric welding instructor for Rock Island Railroad for two years. In 1924, he opened his first filling station and in two years' time, he had built a successful automobile business in South Chicago before moving to Los Angeles in 1928.

During the late 1920s and 1930s, Powell worked tirelessly to promote airmindedness in the black community. Under his umbrella organization, Craftsmen of Black Wings, Inc., Powell wrote a thinly disguised autobiography, Black Wings, in 1934; wrote and directed a 1935 documentary film, Unemployment, the Negro and Aviation; and published a trade journal entitled Craftsmen Aero News (1937-1938). Powell was also instrumental in organizing the Bessie Coleman Aero Club and the "Five Blackbirds" demonstration team. William J. Powell died in July 1942.
Provenance:
Donated by William H. Powell, III, gift, in 1999. Materials found in the collection seem to indicate that some photographs have come from individuals other than Powell.
Restrictions:
No restrictions on access
Rights:
Permissions Requests
Topic:
African Americans in aeronautics  Search this
Aeronautics -- Societies, etc.  Search this
Aeronautics  Search this
Genre/Form:
Photographs
Clippings
Logs (records)
Citation:
William J. Powell Collection, Accession 1999-0049, National Air and Space Museum, Smithsonian Institution.
Identifier:
NASM.1999.0049
See more items in:
William J. Powell Collection
Archival Repository:
National Air and Space Museum Archives
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-nasm-1999-0049
Online Media:

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