Celebrating International Black Aviation Day with founder Casey Grant

In honor of International Black Aviation Day (IBAD), Feb. 16, we had the distinct privilege of speaking with Casey Grant, a trailblazer in aviation history. Casey, a pioneer as one of the first African American flight attendants, is the author of the award-winning book, “Stars in the Sky”, which chronicles her journey and the stories of other Black pioneers in aviation. She also wrote two more books, “Stars and Beyond – Color your way to Black Heroes in the Sky” and “Stars and Beyond-Stories of Black Heroes in Aviation”.

Below, Casey shares her remarkable journey and insights into the importance of diversity and inclusion within the aviation industry.

Can you tell us about your background and what inspired your love for aviation?

I come from a military family, and my parents were the ones who instilled a passion for flying and exploring the world. My father was a Master Sergeant in the Air Force. I started school in England, lived in Africa, and was raised in Rantoul, Illinois.

Has your identity as a Black woman impacted your experience in aviation in ways different from others? If so, how?

The airline would secure our hotel rooms for each layover destination. On one occasion, the clerk gave the inside hotel rooms to all the crew, and when it came time for my room to be assigned, they put me in the back, dark, outside-motel section, stating the hotel was full and that was the only room available.

Can you share any memorable moments or experiences from your time as a flight attendant that have impacted you personally or professionally?

I learned how to be independent and self-assured traveling all over the world. My journey as a flight attendant not only shaped me professionally but also enriched me personally, fostering resilience and self-reliance.

What advice would you give to other aspiring aviators?

The job is very competitive. Never take ‘no’ as the final answer and never give up on your dream.

How important do you think it is for airlines to actively promote diversity and inclusion?

The world has become a collage of races, colors, and creeds and different abilities. For the flight deck to reflect that, we must open the opportunities to everyone.

What is IBAD and how did it come about?

IBAD is the celebration of so many unknown pioneers and untold stories that needed to be shared. Through IBAD, it is my mission to get their stories told.

Casey Grant’s unwavering commitment to diversity, inclusion, and honoring the contributions of African American pioneers in aviation serves as an inspiration to us all. As we celebrate International Black Aviation Day and Black History Month, let’s reflect on their legacies and continue to advocate for a more inclusive and equitable future in aviation.

Head over to our Instagram channel to enter to win an official IBAD t-shirt and a copy of Casey Grant’s “Stars in the Sky”!

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