Airlift to America

The airlifts of East African students to the United States in the late fifties and early sixties touched the lives of those students and their families and communities and nations, but also the lives of so many others, then and now. Please share with us your memories and thoughts about these airlifts, the participants, and the accomplishments.

Zeituni Onyango, sister of Barack Obama, Sr. commented on the book: “Praise God and thank you very much for the book Airlift to America. This is wonderfully memorable, it tells the tales of his beginning more than anything else! I love it and will for sure pass it over to Malik Abong'o Obama my eldest nephew. He will too be very happy to read his father's hidden truth. We for sure did not know who and how he managed his fee and who made it possible for his stay. Thank you once more for assisting my brother Barack Obama, Sr. on my family's behalf. Cora you are a
wonderful person, you did a great job that you should be honored for. (Email dated September 21, 2009)

COMMENTS ON THE AIRLIFT AS FOUNDATION WORK: Mary R. Page, Director of Human Rights and
International Justice at the MacArthur Foundation commented: “A wonderful and inspiring story! Congratulations. This is the impact (long term) that many foundation folks seem unwilling or unable to appreciate.” (Email dated September 21, 2009).

: On reading a review of “Airlift to America” in the Nation, Charles Hitchcock former Dean, Suffolk Community College, New York, wrote that “It brought back memories of Mboya's presentation to our senior seminar on African studies at Colgate. He opened it by saying that he had met a plane load of Americans at the Nairobi Airport and spotted one woman gaping at him. She said she had never seen anyone quite as black as he was. To which he replied, but madam I have white blood in me; my ancestors ate missionaries.” (Email dated September 19, 2009).

Support for this website was provided by the TASK Foundation, named for its founders, Ted and Ann S. Kheel, who helped organize the airlift and hosted airlift students at their house.