“Wings of Courage” will be performed on Monday, Oct. 18, as part of the University of Dubuque’s Live at Heritage Center Performing Arts Series. The event also will be available for viewing via paid stream from Tuesday, Oct. 19, through Friday, Nov. 19.

Event: “Wings of Courage,” play screening, with guest speaker Robert F. Jefferson Jr., Live at Heritage Center Performing Arts Series.

Times/dates: 7:30 p.m. Monday, Oct. 18. The event also will be available for viewing via paid stream from Tuesday, Oct. 19, through Friday, Nov. 19. Virtual tickets are available at www.dbq.edu/heritagecenter.

Site: John and Alice Butler Hall, Heritage Center, University of Dubuque.

Cost: $10 for the general public; $5 for UD faculty and staff, alumni and parents of current UD students; free for military and veterans, and UD students, with additional tickets $5. Ticket prices increase by $5 at midnight the day of the event. Tickets can be purchased from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, and 90 minutes prior to events at the Farber Box Office, Heritage Center, University of Dubuque, 2255 Bennett St.; by calling 563-585-SHOW; or by visiting www.dbq.edu/heritagecenter.


“Wings of Courage” is a two-man original play from Mad River Theater Works, with music that tells the story of the first African American to fly a plane in combat. Set in the early 20th century in the years leading up to World War I, the one-act drama explores the life of Eugene Bullard, a professional boxer, World War I flying ace, jazz musician and spy. The color of Bullard’s skin prevented him from taking his place alongside other American heroes of his day, but that did not stop him.


  • MadRiver Theater Works is an acclaimed touring ensemble that creates plays with music for families and young audiences based on American history and folklore.
  • Robert F. Jefferson Jr., an authority on African American history, will follow the performance with a
  • virtual, live presentation on the African American military experience and conduct a question-and-answer session with the audience.
  • Jefferson is an associate professor of history at the University of New Mexico, where he teaches United States and African American history. His research interests include the African American military experience, the civil rights movement, Black Western history and disability studies.
  • He is the author of “Fighting for Hope: African American Troops of the 93rd Infantry Division in World War II and Postwar America,” “Brothers in Valor: Battlefield Stories of the 89 African Americans Awarded the Medal of Honor” and “Black Veterans, Politics and Civil Rights in the Twentieth-Century America: Closing Ranks.”
  • Jefferson also is writing “The Color of Disability: The Many Lives of Vasco de Gama Hale in Twentieth-Century America” and “When Jim Crow Faced a New Army: World War Two and the Non-Segregation of the United States Military.”
  • “Wings of Courage” is one of several events included in UD’s months-long Captain Robert L. Martin Black Heritage Tribute.

Megan Gloss

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