Albert Edward Forsythe

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Albert Ernest Forsythe
Born (1897-02-25)25 February 1897
Bahamas
Died May 6, 1986(1986-05-06) (aged 89)
Newark, New Jersey
Occupation Physician
Known for Pioneer aviator

Albert Ernest Forsythe (25 February 1897 – 6 May 1986) was a physician.[1] Born in Nassau, Bahamas,[2] he was the third child (second to survive infancy) born to Horatio Alexander Forsyth and Lillian Maud Byndloss. As a toddler, Forsythe moved with his family to Port Antonio, Jamaica, where his father was a prominent civil engineer. At aged fifteen, Forsythe emigrated to the United States to study architecture at Tuskegee Institute. Forsythe continued his education at University of Illinois and finally at University of Toledo where he earned his bachelors of science. Forsyth then went on to medical school and graduated from McGill University Medical School. He added the 'e' to Forsyth while practicing medicine in New Jersey to distinguish himself from another physician practising in the same building as his practice.

In 1933, Forsythe and C. Alfred "Chief" Anderson were the first black pilots to make a round-trip cross-country flight from Atlantic City, New Jersey, to Los Angeles, California.[3] They made the cross country journey in a Fairchild 24 named "The Pride of Atlantic City." The plane was not equipped with parachuts, a radio or landing lights, and they navigated using a road map.[2] Later that same year, the two became the first black pilots to fly across an international border to Montreal, Canada.[4] In 1934, Forsythe and Anderson bought a [type of aircraft] and christened it the "Booker T. Washington," in which they flew their Southamerican Good Will Flight.[5] During this tour, the duo accomplished several ground-breaking feats in the caribbean.[4]

Letters said to have been written by Forsythe during his historic flights were found by a woman under the porch of an Atlantic City home in 2011. The woman, Joi-Dickerson-Neal, said she rescued the letters from her grandfather George Dickerson's house and said the letters were written to her grandfather's late wife, formerly known as Edith Holland, who at the time they were written, was apparently romantically connected to Forsythe.[6]

In 1945, Forsythe married Francis T. Chew, a nurse he met in Atlantic City. The couple settled the following year in Newark, New Jersey, where they remained until Forsythe's death in 1987. After Forsythe's death, Francis spent much of her time championing her late husband's accomplishments and ensuring that various artifacts from Forsythe's historic feats would be placed in historic archives. Francis died in Newark, New Jersey in 2009. The couple did not have children.

Forsythe and Anderson's accomplishments are memorialized at the Lambert-St. Louis International Airport's Black Americans in Flight mural.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Forsythe, Albert Edward". American National Biography. Oxford University Press.  Subscription needed.
  2. ^ a b "Bonita Jamaica - Beautiful Place. Amazing People.™: Dr. Albert E. Forsyth - Aviator and Physician". Bonitajamaica.blogspot.com. 2007-02-12. Retrieved 2014-04-08. 
  3. ^ Ralph S. Cooper, D.V.M. "C. Alfred "Chief" Anderson". Earlyaviators.com. Retrieved 2014-04-08. 
  4. ^ a b Roger A. Forsyth, M.D.. Black Flight: Breaking Barriers to Blacks in Aviation. Allcourt Publishing. 
  5. ^ "Flyer: Goodwill Flight | National Air and Space Museum". Airandspace.si.edu. Retrieved 2014-04-08. 
  6. ^ Martin DeAngelis (29 Jan 2012). "Letters of history-making Dr. Albert Forsythe going on display in February". Press of Atlantic City. Retrieved 16 July 2013.