Illinois General Assembly - Full Text of HR0120
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Full Text of HR0120  103rd General Assembly




HR0120LRB103 31313 MST 58639 r


2    WHEREAS, The members of the Illinois House of
3Representatives are saddened to learn of the death of Oscar
4Lawton Wilkerson Jr. of Markham, who passed away on February
58, 2023; and
6    WHEREAS, Oscar Wilkerson was born in Chicago Heights on
7February 9, 1926; he graduated from Bloom Township High School
8in 1944; and
9    WHEREAS, Oscar Wilkerson registered for the U.S. Army Air
10Force; he passed his flight test in 1946, earning his wings and
11a rank of second lieutenant as part of the Tuskegee Airmen, the
12nation's first Black aviation combat unit; with the recent end
13of World War II, he was tasked with aiding the postwar cleanup
14efforts; and
15    WHEREAS, Oscar Wilkerson finished his service by flying
16B-52s to Kingman, Arizona for storage or disassembly in the
17U.S. military's aircraft "boneyard" and was a lifeguard at an
18officer's pool; he was also in charge of the officer's club at
19a base in Columbus, Ohio; and
20    WHEREAS, Oscar Wilkerson worked as a freelance
21photographer most of his life; in 1962, he began a career in



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1radio with WBEE-AM in Harvey, where he was a weekend host known
2as "Weekend Wilkie" as well as program director and manager of
3community affairs; he later worked at WMAQ-AM; he retired in
41988; and
5    WHEREAS, Oscar Wilkerson was the second vice president of
6the Chicago chapter of Tuskegee Airmen Inc., which was called
7the Dodo Chapter because the founders felt that if they did not
8preserve the legacy then they would die off like the dodo bird,
9which went extinct because it lost the ability to fly; as a
10presenter on Black history and the Tuskegee Airman experience,
11he frequently told students about the five-point road map that
12the Tuskegee airmen used to be successful, which included do
13not fear greatness, do not let anyone tell you that you cannot
14do something, excel in what you do, remain united and help each
15other reach a common goal, and with courage and dedication you
16can overcome adversity; and
17    WHEREAS, Oscar Wilkerson's love of aviation never faded;
18he owned a small single-engine Cessna for years; he delighted
19in introducing children to aviation by meeting them at the
20Gary/Chicago Airport and taking them for their first flights,
21which were free through the Experimental Aircraft
22Association's Young Eagles Program; and
23    WHEREAS, Oscar Wilkerson was among approximately 300



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1surviving members of the Tuskegee Airmen awarded the
2Congressional Gold Medal in 2007 by President George W. Bush;
4    WHEREAS, Oscar Wilkerson was inducted into the Bloom High
5School Hall of Fame on November 6, 2021; therefore, be it
8we mourn the passing of Oscar Lawton Wilkerson Jr. and extend
9our sincere condolences to his family, friends, and all who
10knew and loved him; and be it further
11    RESOLVED, That a suitable copy of this resolution be
12presented to the family of Oscar Wilkerson as an expression of
13our deepest sympathy.