Lessons in Black History – Hubert Fauntleroy Julian (a.k.a. Black Eagle)

Hubert Fauntleroy Julian – Perhaps best known to the world as the Black Eagle, Hubert Julian was a world famous aviator and soldier of fortune. Something of a controversial figure in the 1920s and 30, Julian was a supporter of Marcus Garvey and one of the first, if not the first black men to get his pilot’s license. Julian became known as a showman by flying his plane over rallies for Garvey and performing aerial stunts. He unsuccessfully attempted a transatlantic flight from New York to Africa in 1924, and barely survived when his plane crashed into the ocean. He successfully made the trip five years later. In 1931, Julian set the non-stop non-refueling aviation endurance record with a flight of 84 hours and 33 minutes. He also toured with an all-black flying circus known as The Five Blackbirds. When Italy invaded Ethiopia in 1935, the Black Eagle flew to the African nation to fight for Emperor Haile Selassie, who had made Julian an honorary citizen in 1930, and awarded him the rank of colonel. The Black Eagle passed away in New York City in 1983.

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