Zelle Rainey Orr is a renowned researcher, historian, consultant, author and award-winning poetess. The mother of two daughters, Kai and Nia, she resides in Atlanta, GA. A barrier-breaker, Zellie was one of five black students to desegregate Indianola High School (Indianola, MS 1967), first black Personal Lines Underwriter of Kemper Ins. Co.(Los Angeles, CA 1977); first black female Personal Lines Underwriter, Commercial Union Ins. Co. (Atlanta, GA 1980). Pursuing a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism, she studied at Los Angeles City College and San Fernando Valley State College (now California State University Northridge) and at Corporate Institutes in Long Grove, IL and Boston, MA.
Assuring the contributions of unsung heroes are remembered, Zellie’s efforts promote tangible recognition worldwide. Among these are naming of 56-unit apartment complex in honor of deceased Civil Rights Pioneer, Charlie Scattergood; locating (60 years later) burial site of Tuskegee Airman, Quitman Walker, in Belgium; erecting of State Historical Markers; discovery of “missing” 1949 USAF Weapons Meet “Top Gun” Trophy won by 332nd FG. (Trophy’s now reposed at Nat’l Museum of USAF at Wright-Patterson
AFB in Dayton, OH and available for viewing by the more than 1.2 million visitors who tour the facility annually); dedication of Camp Creek Parkway, “Tuskegee Airmen Parkway.” The 12-mile State Highway, ending at world’s busiest airport (Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport), is traveled by thousands daily.
Zellie’s contributions/credits include newspapers: New York Times, USA Today; televised media: Digital Ranch Productions (Tuskegee Airmen Aviation Dogfights via History Channel); Lucasfilm “Red Tails” Documentary (Double Victory via History Channel); NBC ‘Brian Williams Nightly News Special’ (Black And White WWII Vets Reunite); CNN (w/Fredricka Whitfield); museums and libraries: Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture (Wash., DC); U. S. Postal Museum (Wash., DC); Harry S. Truman Library & Museum (Independence, MO); National Cowboys of Color Museum (Ft. Worth, TX); Chanute Air Museum (Rantoul, IL);Maxwell Air Force Base Historical Research Agency (Montgomery, AL); National Park Service (Tuskegee, AL); Kennesaw State University Museum of History & Holocaust Education (Kennesaw, GA); Auburn Avenue Research Library (Atlanta, GA); books: Heroes In War – Heroes At Home: FIRST TOP GUNS; Georgia: A History of Change and Progress; Tuskegee Airmen: An Illustrated History 1939-1949.
Among her many accolades: Nat’l Museum of The Tuskegee Airmen “Distinguished Service Award”; Alva Temple Chapter Tuskegee Airmen, Inc. “Distinguished Service & Dedication Award”; Tuskegee Airmen,Inc. “Presidential Award”; Who’s Who In America; Who’s Who In the World.