First Black Aviator To Fly the Atlantic Was From Illinois
With Memorial Day being this past Monday, social media feeds everywhere were flooded with posts honoring loved ones.
My feed was no exception. And as someone who has had members of their family serve (2 still currently serving) our country in different fields of the armed forces, it's cool to see what friends have had members of their families serve too.
This Memorial Day I learned something about one of my best friend's family that I didn't expect to.
My friend's grandfather was the first black aviator to fly the Atlantic. He also helped train black military cadets in Tuskegee. In fact, the more I looked into him, my friend's grandfather was a huge pioneer for black aviation.
Fred Hutcherson Jr. was born in Evanston, Il in 1912 and self-taught himself how to fly after his father surprised him with his first airplane while he was still in high school.
In the 1940s Hutcherson was a member of Canada Dorval and had graduated from the Royal Canadian Air Force. My friend had told me he served in Canada as a way to get around segregation and still serve. This is also when he became one of the first African American pilots to fly the Atlantic.
During World War II Hutcherson was a flight instructor at the Tuskegee Army Air Field in Atlanta where he taught black military cadets. He would earn a Congressional Gold Medal for his time there.
The Congressional Gold Medal was given to him posthumously, where my friend's father received the medal in his honor.
This online book on Google was very helpful in finding more information on Fred Hutcherson Jr. Come to find out, my friend's family are the ones who provided the information and photos that were used too. She showed me some of the newspaper clippings and photos she has at her house. It's really cool to see that kind of history in person, even cooler to know it's someone I really care about's, own family.
Hutcherson is also featured in the book Dream Dancers: E Pluribus Unum— The Battle for American Equality 1924–1947.
This was an amazing piece of history I didn't expect to learn, all from a Facebook post.
What to Do After a Tornado Strikes