Eugene Bullard; World's First Black Fighter Pilot

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MWSA Review


When Eugene Bullard's father told him there was no racism in France, a very young Eugene became determined to be where all people were treated with respect - France.In his biography on Eugene Bullard, the World's First Black Fighter Pilot, Larry Greenly paints our hero with tenacity and an unyielding desire to live in a world of equality. In his quest for France, the young run-away found not all white people were mean, and not all black people were his friend. He finally found the respect he earned and desired for so long in the fighting ring, on the music scene, and over the field of battle.Eugene Bullard led a fantastic life.  Fighting against the Germans in WWI with the French Foreign Legion, Bullard excelled in every endeavor. But, he came home to find a handful of Americans remained deeply embedded in the racism trench, never to accept him for his accolades over his skin color.

Larry Greenly's biography intrigued, enlightened, and saddened me. To live and fight for a country during a time of intense war, only to be treated less than human, yet remain true to your dreams of tolerance and love is truly a feat for only the bravest among us. Eugene's perseverance and drive should encourage us all to seek the good in everyone. Mr. Greenly reminds us of the true American hero who was Eugene Bullard, the World's First Black Fighter Pilot.  

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Author's Summary

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This young adult biography tells the story of pioneering black aviator Eugene Bullard from his birth in 1895 to his combat experiences in both World War I and II and, finally, his return to America. Before the United States joined World War I, a few Americans fought on France's side, including Eugene Jacques Bullard, the grandson of a slave.

Bullard had faced discrimination in the U.S. and even the threat of lynching, but while growing up, he had listened spellbound to his father's stories about how France treated everyone equally. He ran away from home at twelve and eventually made his way to France, where he joined the French Foreign Legion and later the Lafayette Flying Corps, to become the world's first black fighter pilot. All the medals he received, however, weren't enough to fend off the prejudice he still faced when he returned to the United States.


Author(s) Mentioned: 
Greenly, Larry
Linhart, Sandra
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