First African-American Female Stewardess to Fly from ITH to New York City in 1958


In 1958, Ithaca Tompkins Regional Airport had the distinct honor of hosting the first African American female stewardess on a flight to New York City. After Ruth Carol Taylor received her degree in nursing, she decided to become an airline stewardess, defying the racial biases upheld by many airlines. Taylor first applied to Trans World Airlines; after her rejection, she filed a complaint with the New York State Commission on Discrimination, and was hired by Mohawk Airlines. She served on a flight from Ithaca Tompkins Regional Airport to New York City on February 11th, 1958.

Six months later, Taylor left her position with Mohawk to marry and settled down in the British West Indies. She went on to become a journalist, nurse, and civil rights activist, helping to develop the Racism Quotient, a test measuring racist attitudes and beliefs in society.  She was recognized by the New York State Assembly in 2008, and currently lives in Brooklyn, NY. Ithaca Tompkins Regional Airport is honored to have been the site of such an important historical event.

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