Col. Richard Toliver, a retired Air Force fighter pilot and test pilot mentored by the Tuskegee Airmen, will be the speaker Friday at a DiversiTea event sponsored by UCF’s Office of Diversity and Inclusion at the Daytona Beach campus.
The pilot, a 26-year Air Force veteran who flew 446 combat missions in Southeast Asia, will speak as part of the diversity office’s recognition of the 50th anniversary of the 1964 Civil Rights Act.
Toliver’s presentation will focus on how faith, education, attitude and relationships played a critical role in winning the Civil Rights struggle of the 1950s and 1960s.
“These crucial keys were stressed by the Tuskegee Airmen, Jackie Robinson, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and others who inspired, motivated, and led those of my generation,” Toliver said. “Such factors are even more relevant today in a global community where extreme competition, conflicting ideologies, and daunting politics are center stage.” The Tuskegee Airmen were the first black military aviators in the U.S. armed forces and fought in World War II.
Toliver, who lives in Goodyear, Ariz., was at Tuskegee Institute from 1957 to 1962 and earned his pilot’s wings at Craig Air Force Base in Selma, Ala., in 1964-1965. He outlined the struggles that affected his life in his book, “An Uncaged Eagle: True Freedom.”
The DiversiTea will be noon to 1:30 p.m. at the Daytona Beach campus, 122 W. International Speedway Blvd., in Building 140, Room 115. For additional information, contact Raphel.Robinson@ucf.edu