Kent State University’s College of Aeronautics and Engineering sponsors The Flying Hobos, a Living History Play

Kent State University’s College of Aeronautics and Engineering sponsors The Flying Hobos, a Living History Play

At 3 p.m. February 20, in Kent State University’s Kiva Auditorium, The Flying Hobos, a STEM interactive Living History play and traveling exhibition will demonstrate the life and accomplishments of first African American to fly across the United States.


This program launched to connect students to awe-inspiring minority historical figures by bringing these figures to life through interactive, in-school exhibitions. The Flying Hobos features James Herman Banning.


Banning was the first African American to fly across the Continental United States, and the first to receive a U.S. Dept. of Commerce pilot's license. He even built his first plane so he could earn the necessary solo hours to gain his pilot’s license. Inspiration is a necessary component of learning, for those who are inspired tend to reach beyond expectations. Yet, many children do not have heroes in which they can see themselves.


The Flying Hobos and Fly with Banning teaches literature, history, math and science, showing how these disciplines work together; but, even more importantly, inspires by bringing the story of this early American adventurer to life. 



For more information, contact:

Jessica Tremayne-Farkas

Director, Marketing and PR Communications

College of Aeronautics and Engineering





African American History Month/National Engineers Week Event:

Interactive Play, Flying Hobos Performance at Kent State University

3 p.m., February 20, Kiva Auditorium


What: Enjoy an inspirational story of an African-American hero. One that few have ever heard of is James Herman Banning, the first African-American to fly across the United States. His story is coming to life at Kent State University.


Media is invited to attend this interactive play, Flying Hobos. The play features characters playing Banning and co-pilot Thomas Cox Allen as they describe their historic flight. Media can film the play and interview the actors, and the play’s co-creators.


Who:  Jeantique Oriol (as James Herman Banning in period dress), Broadway Actor


            Lamar Cheston (as Thomas Cox Allen in period dress), Broadway Actor


Media Interview information :

The actors are available for an interview Tuesday, February 19 and Wednesday, February 20 (can be before or after the play)


Where: Kent State University’s Kiva Auditorium


Contact: Jessica Tremayne-Farkas, Director, Marketing Communications and PR



About Banning:  During the historic transcontinental flight, Banning landed in Columbus, Ohio on October 1 and crash landed near Cambridge, Ohio on October 2, where nearby farmers came to his aid in repairing the Eaglerock biplane. Banning was born Nov. 5, 1899 in rural Oklahoma. Believing that freedom in the sky would bring freedom on the ground Banning came up with a plan to fly across the United States during the Great Depression. As he was searching for supporters he met Thomas Cox Allen who bought into the adventure with $200. Allen came up with the ingenious idea to fund their flight by soliciting small donations in each town they landed. Each donor inscribed their name on the wing of the plane which they termed “The Gold Book.” After 21 exhausting and adventurous days Banning circled the Statue of Liberty and landed in Valley Stream, New York to complete the journey. More information is available at 

POSTED: Monday, February 11, 2019 - 10:49am
UPDATED: Monday, February 11, 2019 - 10:52am