Marlon Green: Paving the Runway for Black Airline Pilots

The airline industry is built on the legacies of those who were willing to make sacrifices just for an opportunity. When Marlon Green launched his six-year court battle to be able to fly for Continental Airlines, he opened the door for every Black airline pilot.


Captain Marlon Green earned his wings in the United States Air Force while overcoming segregation when his family was not allowed to live on base in Louisiana because of his interracial marriage. He flew bombers and other multiengine planes for nine years, earning more than 3,000 flight hours. 


In 1957, Green resigned from the Air Force with the hope of becoming an airline pilot. After being rejected or ignored by hundreds of air carriers, Green was invited to take a flight test for Continental Airlines, who was unaware of his race because he did not include a picture of himself in the application. When the airline passed Green over for five less-experienced, but white pilots, he launched a discrimination complaint in Colorado. Green’s complaint sparked a six-year legal battle that eventually landed in the United States Supreme Court. Green persevered and kept his dream alive, and in 1964, a judge awarded him the career he deserved. 


Green flew for Continental for fourteen years, paving the way for generations of pilots after him. His legacy inspires others not to let discrimination stand in the way of their dreams. His accomplishments remind us of the importance of perseverance when fighting for justice.

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