Airlift to America

We have started to collect here some links that pertain to the airlift or airliftees, or may be of special interest to those who wish to learn more about the subject. We expect to add more links to this page in the coming months. Please let us know of any other websites that you think merit inclusion. To contact us, click here.

This page on the African Activist Archive Website contains pictures and information about the African American Students Foundation (AASF), which organized the Airlift. The site will someday include still more materials, as the AASF papers have now been donated to the Michigan State University Libraries. A number of Airlift students went to Michigan State University. MSU’s African Studies Center (ASC), which was founded in 1960 and is today one of nine federally funded National Resource Centers on Africa, co-sponsors the African Activist Archive. Michigan State University Libraries also play an important role in the project, accepting donations of collections in the African Activist Archive of the MSU Libraries Special Collections. The MSU Library has one of the nation's largest collections about Africa.

This link announces the opening at the Hoover Institution Library and Archives at Stanford University of the papers of William X. Scheinman (1927–1999) , a longtime friend of and correspondent with Kenyan independence leader Tom Mboya. The highlight of the collection is the correspondence between Scheinman and Mboya, which contains hundreds of letters, beginning in 1957 and continuing until Mboya’s assassination in 1969. Regarding the papers, see further Gikonyo (Julius) Kiano was one of the Kenyan organizers of the Airlift, along with Tom Mboya. In this interview for the Berkeley magazine, he speaks of the Airlift and its effect on students lives. Airliftee Stephen Machooka broke all sorts of records as a runner for Cornell University. In this article, Machooka’s contributions to the sport are remembered. Airliftee Leah Marangu has had a remarkable career as an educator in the U.S. and in Kenya, where she helped found a new university. In this speech, she recalls her upbringing in Kenya and schooling in the U.S. Airliftee Trywell Nyirongo went on a long-lasting and twisting odyssey to becoming a physician and eventually opening a clinic in an AIDS-ravaged area of his home country, Mali. In this article for an on-line religious magazine, that odyssey is recounted. The link just above this one describes the opening of a clinic in Mali by airliftee Trywell Nyirongo. In this audio interview for Minnesota Public Radio, Dr. Nyirongo speaks of his experiences with the clinic. This website reproduces a “Background Memorandum Prepared By Senator Kennedy's Office, August 1960 Giving ‘The Facts On Grant To American Students Airlift.’”,9171,939162-1,00.html This is an August 29, 1960 Time Magazine article on “the jockeying going on in both presidential camps” about “Who would have the privilege of paying for $100,000 worth of plane fares to the U.S. for 250 African students?”

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.