This week guest columnist CHRIS DOBBS, editorial assistant for the New Georgia Encyclopedia, shares the story of Eugene Bullard, son of a former slave, and the first black fighter pilot.
Eugene Bullard was born in Columbus, Georgia, in 1895. As an expatriate in France, he became a boxer, soldier, fighter pilot, business owner, and spy. During his final years, in the United States, he was an elevator operator. Bullard’s story is particularly engaging. He was obviously a tight spring of potential as a boy, and it’s fascinating to see how high he flew as soon as the environment around him allowed it. The difference between his life in the United States and his life in Europe lends his life its striking cinematic scale.