EAST PROVIDENCE — After George S. Lima Sr. died in 2011, his son Robert M. Lima Sr. did not want people to forget all the things his father had done for Rhode Island.
For about a year, he and others have been working with the city to name a location after his father.
On Tuesday, the City Council voted on a resolution to change the name of the Hull Street Playground to George S. Lima Sr. Memorial Park.
A dedication ceremony to unveil the sign for the new park would be held May 1. On May 2, a golf tournament will be held at Triggs Memorial Golf Course to help raise money for programming for the George S. Lima Foundation, which introduces young people to career opportunities in aviation and communications.
Robert Lima said it will be an honor to have the park named after his father and that he will be at the meeting Tuesday to thank the council.
Still, he would like to someday push for a building to be named after his father. “My father always taught us to fight for what we want,” he said. “He did a lot for the city and the whole state and he deserves to be remembered for his contributions the way other people are remembered.”
George Lima Sr., a son of Cape Verdean immigrants, was part of an elite group known as the Tuskegee Airmen, the first group of black fighter and bomber pilots in the history of the U.S. Air Corps. Lima did not actually fly in combat; he was the photography officer.
The story of the airmen has appeared in books, articles and film including “Black Men Can Fly: the story of George S. Lima”.
Lima returned to Rhode Island after the war to get a degree from Brown University. His work as a shipping clerk in a Providence department store and later as an administrator in the federal war on poverty. It led him to become a union leader. He served as president of the NAACP Providence Branch and as a state representative from East Providence. James Vincent, the current head of the NAACP Providence Branch, said Lima was a mentor. He said that Lima “… worked for many groups making sure people had a voice. He was like a beacon of hope. When people like myself needed guidance he was there.”
BY TATIANA PINA