Harris was born on December 22, 1934, in Columbus, Ohio. In 1957, Harris graduated from Ohio State University, with a B.S. degree in education. While a University student there, he was rejected twice for Ohio States’ advanced Air Force ROTC program on racial grounds. He was eventually granted admission, and once in the program, rose to the rank of cadet colonel.In 1958, Harris joined the U.S. Air Force (USAF), following the receipt of a Reserve Officers Training Corps commission as a 2nd lieutenant.

In 1964, Harris interviewed with American Airlines. To avoid what Harris deemed to be an inevitable denial based on his race, Harris informed the interviewer that he was African American. The chief pilot conducting the interview responded: “This is American Airlines and we don’t care if you’re black, white or chartreuse, we only want to know, can you fly the plane?”

On December 3, 1964, two days after leaving the USAF, Harris became the first African American hired as a commercial airline pilot for a major U.S. commercial airline, American Airlines. Following the completion of nine-week training, Harris became an American Airline co-pilot.

Three years later, in 1967 Harris became the first African American male to achieve the rank of Pilot Captain for a major U.S. commercial airline. Harris retired in 1984, after flying for American Airlines for a total of 30 years.

According to en.wikipedia.org. Source of photos: internet