Little Known Black History Fact: Cross Country Fliers

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  • On July 17, 1933, two pilots, Dr. Albert Forsythe and C. Alfred Anderson became the first black men to make a cross-country flight from Bader Field in Atlantic City. The men successfully made the trip without lighting or a radio, with only an altimeter and a map. They coasted to Los Angeles in their plane, which was named The Pride of Atlantic City. When the men returned, they were greeted with a parade.

    Dr. Forsythe had purchased the Pride of Atlantic City earlier that year for $2,000. After taking leave of his medical practice, he joined with Anderson and learned to fly from a white flight instructor in Philadelphia – the only place blacks could learn to fly in the country. The fact that the men learned to fly from a white instructor during a peak time of segregation made their accomplishment remarkable.

    They took flight in July and were sponsored by the Atlantic City Board of Trade.

    Once Forsythe and Anderson completed their first flight, they expanded their journey to include trips to Montreal and the Caribbean, which was Dr. Forsythe’s birthplace (Nassau, Bahamas).

    Two years later, Dr. Albert Forsythe returned to his medical practice and C. Alfred Anderson worked as an instructor at the Tuskegee Institute in Alabama.

    Dr. Albert Forsythe was inducted into the New Jersey Aviation Hall of Fame in 1985 and died one year later.
     

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    2 thoughts on “Little Known Black History Fact: Cross Country Fliers

    1. Black Pilots Go the Distance

      In the 1930s, black stunt pilots performed at numerous air shows. Some black aviators set their sights on distance records. In 1932 pilot James Herman Banning and mechanic Thomas C. Allen became the first black aviators to fly across the continent. Their historic journey took 41 hours and 27 minutes of flight time.

      Other pilots, such as C. Alfred Anderson and Dr. Albert E. Forsythe, used long-distance flights as a way to promote interracial harmony and to demonstrate the skill of black pilots. In 1933 Anderson and Forsythe flew from Atlantic City to Los Angeles and back, the first round-trip transcontinental flight by black pilots.

    2. In 1932 James Banning was the first African American pilot to fly Coast to Coast…, Anderson’s flight was the first African American pilots to make a round trip coast to coast…

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