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Hubert Julian

Hubert Fauntleroy Julian (b. 1897 or 1900 (?); d ?) was an Trinidad born African-American aviation pioneer. He was nicknamed The Black Eagle.

Hubert Julian was a promoter of aviation and succeeded in generating publicity. He was one of (some say the first) person of color to get a pilot's licence in the United States. He was a supporter of Marcus Garvey and in 1922 flew his plane over parades in support of Garvey. Julian's 1929 Trans-Atlanic flight, 2 years after that of Charles Lindbergh, was commemorated by Calypso music singer Sam Manning[?] in the record Lieutenant Julian, and made Julian a well known figure in the African-American and Afro-Caribbean community, and he sometimes thereafter billed himself as "The Black Lindbergh".

Julian flew to Ethiopia in 1930, where his flying exploits impressed Emperor Haile Selassie, who awarded Julian Abyssinian citizenship and the rank of Colonel.

In 1931 he was the first African-American to fly coast to coast in the United States. Julian was one of several aviators in the 1920s and 1930s who competed in outdoing each other and breifly holding records for longest non-stop flights. In 1931, for example, Julian held the non-stop non-refueling aviation endurance record with a flight of 84 hours and 33 minutes. Julian flew a number of flights in and between the Americas, Europe, and Africa, surviving several crashes. In between major flights, he toured with a small all Black flying circus which he headed, called The Five Blackbirds.

During the Italian invasion of Ethiopia in 1935, Julian flew to Ethiopia to aid in the defense of Selassie's government. He was put in command of the Ethiopian airforce, which at the time consisted of 3 planes. After getting into a public fist-fight with fellow African-American aviator John C. Robinson[?], Julian was ordered to leave the country.

Julian also invented some safety devices used in airplanes.

Julian also acted as producer for the 1939 motion picture Lying Lips.

After the United States entered World War II, Julian volunteered to train for combat with the 789th, the famous Tuskegee Airmen. He was remembered as a colorful character who wore a non-regulation Colonel's uniform, despite not holding that rank with the United States Armed Forces, and was discharged before graduation.

In the 1940s Julian lived in Harlem and continued receiving press as a local celebrity.

A series of articles entitled "Black Eagle" was serialized in the African-American New York Amsterdam News newspaper c. 1937 -1938.

In 1965 a biography of Julian entitled Black Eagle was published by The Adventurers Club in London; a (different?) book with the same title by John Peer Nugent was published in 1971 by Stein and Day in New York.

The 14 November 1974 issue of Jet Magazine[?] briefly mentions Julian, saying he was then 77 years of age, and was making plans to rescue Haile Selassie, then believed to be held prisoner by the new government of Ethiopia.



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