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First black chief pilot at a major airline retires

Written by on June 12, 2017

Nobody at Southwest told Louis Freeman he would be the first black pilot in the airline’s history when he was hired in 1980. “It never occurred to me,” Freeman says, “but when I got here I was the only pilot of color – it didn’t take long to figure out.” Freeman went on to become the first black chief pilot – a management job – at a major U.S. airline. His most memorable flight carried the body of civil rights icon Rosa Parks to her final resting place. The NAACP had asked the airline to put together an African-American crew. AP/Denver Post

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