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In 1958, Ruth Carol Taylor became the first African American airline flight attendant in the United States.

Ruth Carol Taylor

Source: New York Daily News Archive / Getty

A Journalist and nurse, Taylor once admitted that she never had long-term goals to be a flight attendant, she only wanted to break the color barrier. A trailblazer on so many levels, Taylor founded the country’s first professional nursing journal and became active in civil rights while living in Barbados. When she returned to New York in 1977, Taylor worked as a nurse and co-founded the Institute for Inter Racial Harmony. She also wrote The Little Black Book: Black Male Survival in America, in 1985.

It wasn’t until 2008 that Taylor’s accomplishment as being the first African American flight attendant was formally recognized by the New York State Assembly. (Source: and


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