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2.04.16 – (LAA/LUS) – Celebrating Black History Month

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Thursday, February 4, 2016

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Celebrating Black History Month – LAA/LUS

To celebrate Black History Month, APFA recognizes Ruth Carol Taylor, the first African American Flight Attendant in the United States. 

Ms. Taylor was hired by Mohawk Airlines in December of 1957. Although her career was cut short just six months later due to the carrier’s marriage ban, Ms. Taylor’s trailblazing started a revolution in the industry. The Civil Rights Movement was still in its early days – it had only been three months since the Little Rock Nine integrated Little Rock Central High when Ms. Taylor was hired – which made her bravery that much more inspiring. In the years that followed, progress on the airplane mirrored that which was occurring 30,000 feet below in places like Selma, Birmingham, and the University of Mississippi. 

In the spring of 1958, Margaret Grant was hired by TWA making her the first African American Flight Attendant on a leading mainline carrier. In October of 1959, the New York City branch of the Congress of Racial Equality lead a march through Manhattan encouraging African Americans to patronize TWA in recognition of its hiring practices. 

In 1963, Joan Dorsey became the first African American hired by American Airlines. Ms. Dorsey applied for a the job at American after finishing a degree in education at the University of Arizona. Dorsey graduated at the top of her class from what was then known as “Stewardess College” and began her career based in New York. She retired from the airline in 1999, after 36 years of service.

By the early 1970’s there were almost one thousand African American Flight Attendants working at airlines in the United States. By this time, airline management no longer had a preference for only light-skinned black women and had stopped requesting that black Flight Attendants avoid destinations in the southern United States due to possible hostility and discrimination from passengers.

APFA is proud of our diversity, passion, and advocacy. In addition to legends like Martin Luther King, Jr., Black History is full of stories of unsung heroes – ordinary people who stood up for their own human rights. Ms. Taylor, Ms. Grant, and Ms. Dorsey were pioneers. They inspired generations of Flight Attendants. We honor their fortitude and their legacy as true leaders of our profession. 

Black History Month Events Around the System – LAA/LUS

The African American Diversity Network (AADN) is hosting many events across the system to celebrate Black History Month.

CLT Airport
Monday, February 8 – Special Guest Cedric Rockamore, PHL VP, 12:30pm to 3:00pm, CLT Piedmont Room Upper Level

PHX Rio West
Monday, February 8 – “Limitless Possibilities” – Guest Speaker, Lakshman Amaranyaka, MD PHL Ops. Building E  from 11:30am to 12:30pm

PHX Airport
Monday, February 8 – “Limitless Possibilities” – Guest Speaker, Lakshman Amaranyaka, MD PHL Ops, 2:30am to 3:30pm, Terminal 4, Conference Room A

February 1 – Relief for Flint, Michigan – the ORD Chapter of AADN is coordinating a relief campaign to deliver 10,000 bottles of water to the city. They will begin receiving donations on February 1 at the GEM building c/o Joyce Jones or Tyrone Hamilton. Only full cases can be accepted. The effort will continue through February 20.

ORD Airport
Friday, February 12 – Celebrating Black History by recognizing contributions African Americans have made in history. Featuring student choir of Jenner Academy and R&B artist La’Rue – H/K in Terminal 3 — 10:00am to 12:00pm.

Friday, February 12 – AADN members Johnson House visit at 6306 Germantown Ave, PHL PA 19124. Johnson House was part of the Underground Railroad.Time : 12:00pm to 1:00pm

Monday, February 15 – “A Time for Change” guest speaker Victor Lee will present to employees followed by entertainment from the Black Theater Troupe. American Airlines Annex A&B from 11:30am to 12:30pm.

Wednesday, February 17 – Annual Soul Food Cook Off – 11:30am to 2:00pm – AADN EBRG members share special culinary dishes, providing the “history” of those family dishes and their historical significance in the African American community.

C.R. Smith Museum
Saturday, February 20 – Saturdays at the Smith series – 2:00pm to 3:30pm, celebrating Black History Month. AADN members hosting students from Desoto High School.

Friday, February 26 – AADN members visit the African American Museum in Philadelphia at 701 Arch Street Philadelphia, PA 19106. 12:00pm to 2:00pm.

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