Ruth Carol Taylor

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Ruth Carol Taylor (born December 27, 1931) was the first African-American flight attendant in the United States.[1]


Born in Boston, into a family of black, white, and Cherokee heritage, Taylor attended Elmira College and graduated as a registered nurse from the Bellevue School of Nursing in New York City.[2][3][4]

Hired in December 1957,[4] on February 11, 1958, Taylor was the flight attendant on a Mohawk Airlines flight from Ithaca to New York, the first time such a position had been held by an African American.[5] She was let go within six months as a result of Mohawk's then-common marriage ban.[6]

Taylor was later significantly involved in covering the 1963 March on Washington and as an activist for consumer affairs and women's rights.[3]

In 2008, fifty years after her historic flight, her accomplishments were formally recognized by the New York State Assembly.[3]


  1. ^ Conrard, Don (November 16, 2005). "Promoting Diversity". Alaska's World. Alaska Airlines. Archived from the original on March 24, 2006. Retrieved November 7, 2011. 
  2. ^ "AVIATION: Another First", Time magazine, January 6, 1958.
  3. ^ a b c Eric Adams, "In the Constituent Spotlight: Ms. Carol Taylor!" The New York State Senate, July 28, 2009.
  4. ^ a b "Flight Attendants in Labor History", Femininity in Flight.
  5. ^ Booneville Herald
  6. ^ "The First African-American Flight Attendant in the United States", Airline Travel, February 12, 2010.