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Las Vegas Author Brings Parents' Love Story, WWII History To The Stage




Following the end of World War II, the U.S. became more racially integrated. One example of this change was the acceptance of African-American soldiers as fighter pilots.  

The Tuskegee Airmen are immortalized today as heroes and pioneers for civil rights in America. One of the first Tuskegee Airmen was James Bernard Knighten.  His daughter, Las Vegas author Kim Russell, shows his human side in her book and play Tuskegee Love Letters.

The play is a result of years of work by Russell to collect and curate letters written by Knighten and his wife, Luana.  The couple's correspondence documents their relationship - as well as a considerable amount of American history - from 1939 to 1956.  

When Russell was just a few months old, her mother, Luana Knighten, died at age 30.

"I never knew my mother," Russell told KNPR's State of Nevada.  "This was my way - her way - for me to meet her.... and to hear her voice." 

Tuskegee Love Letterscomes to local libraries the next two weekends in celebration of the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II and the 16th anniversary of its opening night in Las Vegas:

Saturday, February 28 at 7 p.m. - West Charleston Library Lecture Hall, 6301 W. Charleston Blvd.

Sunday, March 1 at 2 p.m. Windmill Library Auditorium 7060 W. Windmill Ln.

Saturday, March 7 at 7 p.m. West Las Vegas Library Theatre 951 W. Lake Mead Blvd.


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Kim Russell, writer

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Nikole Robinson Carroll is KNPR's Morning Edition host. You can hear her every morning from 5am until 10am on News 889. She also produces segments for KNPR's State of Nevada.