"Turbulence Before Takeoff," A Black History Month Program
Author Flint Whitlock talks of his book about the first African-American airline pilot
SEATTLE, Feb. 17, 2009
Lecture and Booking Signing: Saturday, Feb. 28, 2 p.m. Until the mid-1960s there were no African-American pilots flying for any major U.S. airline because of institutional racism. Flint Whitlock's new book, Turbulence Before Takeoff, tells the story of black pilot Marion DeWitt Green's long struggle-all the way to the Supreme Court-to open the cockpit doors to pilots of color. Whitlock will speak about the book at the Museum's William M. Allen Theater. The program will be followed by an audience question and answer session and book signing. The event is free with admission to the Museum. Turbulence Before Takeoff is available at the Museum Store.
Flint Whitlock was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize for his 1992 book, Soldiers on Skis: A Pictorial Memoir of the 10th Mountain Division. He has authored a number of award-winning history books, and has been a featured guest on the Fox News Channel and the History Channel.
Marlon DeWitt Green grew up in an impoverished family in Arkansas in the 1930s and 1940s. In 1947 he enlisted in the still-segregated U.S. Air Force and became a pilot. Ten years later he resigned from the Air Force to seek work with the airlines. Despite his excellent flying abilities and spotless military record, he found no airline willing to defy convention and hire a black pilot. Eventually he and his attorney fought the system all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, where it was ruled unanimously in 1963 that Continental Airlines had discriminated against him and must offer him a job. Green was hired and flew for the airline for 14 years, but the struggle continued to take its toll on his personal life.
The non-profit Museum of Flight is one of the largest independent air and space museums in the world. The Museum's collection includes more than 150 historically significant air and spacecraft, as well as the Red Barn®--the original manufacturing facility of the Boeing Co. The Museum's aeronautical library and archival holdings are the largest on the West Coast. More than 140,000 students are served annually by the Museum's on-site and outreach educational programs - the most extensive museum-based youth aviation and space education program in the country. The Museum is the only aviation and space museum in Washington State that is both nationally accredited with the American Association of Museums and a Smithsonian affiliate.