Captain Louis Freeman, who became the nation’s first African-American chief pilot at major airlines, now retires.
On Thursday he made his last flight and went down to the gate to celebrate his 36-year career with family friends and colleagues. Captain Louis Freeman occupied the position of a chief pilot at Southwest Airlines until he reached 65, which is the federal retirement age for airline pilots.
Freeman started his service as an Air Force pilot then, in 1980, he joined Southwest, becoming the airline’s first African-American pilot. In 1992, he was promoted to chief pilot in Chicago, which made him the first African-American to take the prestigious management position at a major U.S. airline.
“You paved the way for so many of us, and I’m just thankful,” a flight attendant told her captain and she’s right, as, according to the Post, only 3 percent of commercial pilots are African-American.
“I put a whole lot of pressure on myself because I had to get it right,” Freeman recalls. “I had to be perfect because I wanted them to hire more of us.”
We applaud Mr Freeman for his strength and dignity and wish all Black people of America could share his wonderful motto, “I was raised to think that I was as good as anybody; but, better than nobody… and that’s how I still feel. I can do anything that I put my mind to, that I put my heart into.”