First Black Pilot For Major U.S. Airline Dies At 89

March 13, 2024

Reaching back and helping others to succeed, that’s what I’d like for my legacy to be.

Capt. David Harris, the first black pilot for a U.S. commercial airline, who passed away on March 8 at the age of 89.

What To Know: Capt. Harris, a former flier in the Air Force, became the first black pilot for a commercial airline in 1964 when he began working for American Airlines. He became known as a trailblazer during the civil rights movement, though noted, “There is no way I should be the first. It should’ve happened long before 1964.”

Capt. Harris worked for American Airlines for 30 years. After retirement, he continued flying for fun in his own single-engine aircraft.

Read More: David E. Harris, first Black pilot for a major U.S. carrier, dies at 89 (The Washington Post)

American Airlines: Remembering Capt. David E. Harris

by Emily Hooker, based in Texas