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UA Administration to Add Diversity Officer, Tuskegee Airmen Instructor Dies

Stuart Bell
University of Alabama
University of Alabama President Stuart Bell

University of Alabama President Stuart Bell says he plans to add a central diversity officer to campus. The new position is part of an effort to ensure a welcoming and inclusive campus for students of all backgrounds.

Bell released a statement Wednesday saying he's asked the school's Strategic Planning Council to identify a diversity officer and develop a new campus diversity plan.

Bell says the university's provost and vice president for student affairs have also been asked to review the school's current initiatives and ensure they're accessible throughout campus.

The announcement comes after Alabama students demonstrated, saying the racial climate on campus needed to be improved. That came after a larger protest at the University of Missouri and demonstrations at schools across the country sparking discussions about race relations on college campuses.

A flight instructor who trained many of the U.S. military's Tuskegee Airmen has died in Georgia at the age of 96. APR’s Stan Ingold has more.

Milton Pitts Crenchaw died at Piedmont Henry Hospital near Atlanta after battling cardiovascular disease and pneumonia. His daughter, Dolores Singleton, says her father was among the last surviving instructors of the Tuskegee Airmen. They were the first African-Americans to fly combat airplanes in World War II.

A biography by the Butler Center for Arkansas Studies says Crenchaw trained hundreds of pilots at the Tuskegee Institute in Alabama in the 1940s, and later was instrumental in creating an aviation program at Philander Smith College in Little Rock.

The Tuskegee airmen became famous for flying P-51 Mustang fighters with the tail painted a distinctive red. The squadron distinguished itself while flying bomber escorts during the war.

Fruit and vegetable farmers across the southeastern United States will meet in Clanton starting today. One item for discussion is expanding banana production in Alabama and fighting diseases that hit citrus trees.

Event organizer Ann Chambers says the conference is also including going to local farms to provide growers with hands on learning experience.

“This year, we are actually introducing tours, and we are hoping these tours people are going to go to these farms and learn new advancements and technologies on farms. That’s our main focus this year, centralizing the realm of these tours so that they get a good grasp of how other farmers are doing things, and maybe they’ll learn something to do on their farms.”

There will also be networking sessions where growers will discuss the art of growing tomatoes, okra, watermelons, and a variety of other fruits and vegetables.

A judge has dismissed former Alabama congressman Artur Davis lawsuit against the Democratic Party. Davis was seeking to run as a Democrat in a county election after returning to the party from the GOP.

Montgomery County Circuit Court Judge Truman Hobbs dismissed the case yesterday. Davis is seeking to run for Montgomery County Commissioner.

The party's "Radney Rule"— named after a former state senator— prohibits someone from running as a Democrat if they supported another party in the last four years. The party's executive board last month refused to waive the rule for Davis.

Davis argues he is being singled out and the party has welcomed back all other party-switchers, including former congressman Parker Griffith, who was the Democratic candidate for governor last year.

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