Anyadike learned to fly at age 12 through the Compton-based Tomorrowâ€™s Aeronautical Museum, which offers aviation lessons in an after-school program for disadvantaged youths. It was their plane that she flew on her cross-country trip.
The brave teenager came up with the idea for the trip on her own, the museumâ€™s founder Robert Petgrave. â€œI told her it was going to be a daunting task, but she just said, â€˜Put it on. I got big shoulders,â€™â€ Petgrave said. Along for the historic ride were an adult safety pilot and 87-year-old Levi Thornhill, one of the during World War II.
â€œThey left such a great legacy,â€ Anyadike said of the American all-black combat unit. â€œI had big shoes to fill. All they wanted to do was to be patriots for this country. They were told no, that they were stupid, that they didnâ€™t have cognitive development to fly planes. They didnâ€™t listen. They just did what they wanted to do.â€ About 50 Tuskeegee Airmen autographed the young pilotâ€™s plane during her journey. â€œI wanted to inspire other kids to really believe in themselves,â€ Anyadike said.