Flying Hobos Tell Pioneering Story to Kent State Audience

Flying Hobos Tell Pioneering Story to Kent State Audience

Pilot James J. Banning made his entrance at the Kent State University KIVA Auditorium making his dream to fly known. Banning accomplished a historic flight in 1932, and was actually part of a performance at the university. Actor Jeantique Oriol, portrayed Banning in honor of National Engineers Week and African-American History Month.

Thomas Cox Allen, Banning’s co-pilot and mechanic was played by Drew Drake, making a two-man, interactive show “The Flying Hobos, a Living History Play,” that recounts the 21-day journey by the duo, which took place during the Great Depression.

Banning was the first African-American to fly across the continental United States and first to receive a certified pilot’s license from the U.S. Department of Commerce, along with Allen, who made the journey with him from California to New York City in a plane comprised of salvaged parts.

Oriol and Drake brought the audience along with Banning, from takeoff to stops along the way, where those they encountered, donated money, fuel, food and shelter. Every donor signed their name on the wing of the plane, which they called “The Gold Book.” The pair safely concluded their fight when they landed in New York City.

POSTED: Tuesday, March 12, 2019 - 5:50am
UPDATED: Tuesday, April 16, 2019 - 11:16am