Watch: How Patricia Banks-Edmiston Broke Skyward Barriers

We continue Keeping Black History Alive by shining a spotlight on Patricia Banks-Edmiston. the first Black flight attendant.

Patricia Banks-Edimiston, one of the first African American flight attendants who helped break barriers in the sky. Born in New York City in 1937, Banks-Edmiston attended Queens College and read a news article about the Grace Downs Air Career School. From there, she knew she wanted to travel the world as a flight hostess.

Banks-Edmiston graduated with high marks from Grace Downs. But at the time, pilots, engineers, and stewardesses were rarely Black. One place she applied to, Capital Airlines, told Banks-Edmiston that “the company didn’t hire Black people in flight capacities.” She would go on to file a suit against Capital Airlines for racially discriminatory hiring practices.

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