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 Hubert Fauntleroy Julian

Hubert Fauntleroy Julian

Birth
Port of Spain, Trinidad And Tobago
Death 19 Feb 1983 (aged 85)
Bronx, Bronx County, New York, USA
Burial Calverton, Suffolk County, New York, USA
Plot Section 10, Site 2137
Memorial ID 24356367 · View Source
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Aviation Pioneer. Often known by his nicknames "The Black Eagle" and "The Black Eagle of Harlem." Some say that he was the first person of color to get a pilot's licence in the United States, for which there are other claimants, though he was certainly one of the first. He was a supporter of Marcus Garvey and in 1922 flew his plane over parades in support of Garvey. In 1924, Julian garnered sufficient financial backing for an attempt at a Trans-Atlantic flight from New York to Africa. Julian took off in his airplane "The Ethiopia I," but crashed into the Atlantic Ocean. He survived, spending weeks in hospital from his injuries. Julian's successful 1929 Transatlantic 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 flyer of African descent 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 briefly 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. Upon his return to the United States, he was temporarily detained at Ellis Island. Later, 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," directed by Oscar Micheaux. After the United States entered the Second World War, Julian volunteered to train for combat with the 399th, 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" publication. In 1965, a biography of Julian entitled "Black Eagle" was published by The Adventurers Club in London; another biography of the aviator with the same title was written by John Peer Nugent was published in 1971 by Stein and Day in New York. The November 14, 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. Julian died in the Bronx, New York City. He is buried at the Calverton National Cemetery in Suffolk County, New York. His passing went largely unnoticed.

Bio by: Warrick L. Barrett


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  • Maintained by: Find A Grave
  • Originally Created by: Warrick L. Barrett
  • Added: 3 Feb 2008
  • Find A Grave Memorial 24356367
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Hubert Fauntleroy Julian (21 Sep 1897–19 Feb 1983), Find A Grave Memorial no. 24356367, citing Calverton National Cemetery, Calverton, Suffolk County, New York, USA ; Maintained by Find A Grave .