Saturday, February 9, 1907
Charles Anderson was born this date in 1907. He was an African-American aviator.
Known as “Chief” Anderson by the pilots he trained, Charles Alfred Anderson was a pioneer of African-American aviation. A commercial pilot, he and Dr. Albert E. Forsythe were the first African Americans to fly a transcontinental trip from Atlantic City to Los Angeles and back in 1933. The two later flew a goodwill flight to Cuba, Jamaica, Haiti, and six other Caribbean countries in their plane named The Spirit of Booker T. Washington.
In 1940 Anderson was hired by the Tuskegee Institute as its Chief Flight Instructor, with the assignment to develop a pilot training program for the school. Tuskegee was one of six black colleges participating in the Civilian Pilot Training Program, a system established by the Civil Aeronautics Authority in 1939 to provide a pool of civilian pilots for wartime emergency. At that time Anderson was the only black aviator in the United States who held a commercial pilot’s license.