Ruth Carol Taylor

Ruth Carol Taylor (born December 27, 1931) is the first African-American flight attendant in the United States.[1] Her first flight was aboard a Mohawk Airlines flight from Ithaca to New York City.[2]

Early lifeEdit

Born in Boston, Massachusetts, into a family of Black, white, and Cherokee heritage. Her mother was Ruth Irene Powell Taylor, a nurse, and her father was William Edison Taylor, a barber. When Ruth was young, her family moved to a farm in upstate New York.[3]

Taylor attended Elmira College and graduated as a registered nurse from the Bellevue School of Nursing in New York City.[4][5][6]


Hired in December 1957,[6] 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.[7] She was let go within six months as a result of Mohawk's then-common marriage ban.[8]

Taylor was later significantly involved in covering the 1963 March on Washington and as an activist for consumer affairs and women's rights.[5] She wrote The Little Black Book: Black Male Survival in America (1985), whose purpose is to "save lives - the lives of Black African Males who are on the Endangered list"[9] in view of the endemic racism in the United States towards African-Americans.

In 2008, 50 years after her historic flight, her accomplishments were formally recognized by the New York State Assembly.[5]

External linksEdit


  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. ^ Owens, Heath (2020-08-21). "30 Historical Photos of Flight Attendants That Show How Much the Job Has Changed". Woman's Day. Retrieved 2021-10-28.
  3. ^ VanHouten, Matt (2011-01-06). "Ruth Carol Taylor (1931- ) •". Retrieved 2021-10-28.
  4. ^ "AVIATION: Another First", Time magazine, January 6, 1958.
  5. ^ a b c Eric Adams, "In the Constituent Spotlight: Ms. Carol Taylor!" The New York State Senate, July 28, 2009.
  6. ^ a b "Flight Attendants in Labor History", Femininity in Flight.
  7. ^ Booneville Herald
  8. ^ "The First African-American Flight Attendant in the United States", Airline Travel, February 12, 2010.
  9. ^ "Book Review of the Little Black Book: Black Male Survival in America: Staying Alive & Well in an Institutionally Racist Society by Ruth C. Taylor".