It was 1964 and black men didn't fly commercial jets. But David Harris was about to change that ...
After years of flying B-52 bombers in the United States Air Force, David Harris applied to be a pilot for commercial airliners, an opportunity no other African American before him---not even the famed Tuskegee Airmen---had ever been afforded. After receiving rejection after rejection, he finally signed on with American Airlines in 1964. But this success was just the beginning of another uphill battle for equal treatment.
It was the height of the civil rights movement, a time of massive protests as people struggled to end racial segregation and give Black people equal rights. As a light-skinned, light-eyed Black man, David was told by many people he could have "passed" for white. But he didn't do that. Instead, he made the bold decision to disclose his race to his employers and fellow airmen. He had experienced discrimination throughout his life, but this was different. He now carried the pride of his family and the hopes of future Black aviators on his shoulders.
This gripping narrative, perfect for middle grade readers and Black History Month, follows Harris's turbulent path to become the first African-American commercial airline pilot in the U.S., presented against the backdrop of racial tensions, protests, and the landmark civil rights legislation of the 1960s. It's the story of a man who fought social injustice the only way he knew how---by succeeding.
Don’t miss Michael H. Cottman’s other middle grade fan favorite, Shackles From the Deep, which Booklist called “rich with intrigue and poignant, thought-provoking questions ... Part mystery, part history, part self-discovery, a stunning trip well worth taking.” (Starred review)
About the Author
MICHAEL H. COTTMAN is an award-winning journalist, author, and formerly a political reporter for the Washington Post and editor at NBCBLK. Today, he serves as a contributor to NBC News Digital. His past books include Shackles From the Deep (which earned a starred review from Booklist as well as rave reviews from Kirkus, Publishers Weekly, and TheHorn Book), The Wreck of the Henrietta Marie, and Million Man March. He has appeared on National Public Radio's Tell Me More, CNN, the History Channel, and The Oprah Winfrey Show to discuss his work. Cottman was also part of the Newsday reporting teamthat in 1992 won journalism's highest honor, the Pulitzer Prize, for their coverage of a deadly subway crash in New York. He lives in Silver Spring, Maryland.