Azellia White, a pioneering African-American female pilot, has died at 106.
Her great-niece Emeldia Bailey told CNN that White died of “natural causes” and her funeral was held on September 21, where she was buried in a cemetery just outside of Houston.
“She says you just felt free up there, just free. There weren’t any racial barriers or things like that when you’re in the skies,” Emeldia Bailey told KTRK.
White was born in June 1913 in Gonzales, Texas, about 75 miles east of San Antonio. In 1936, she married Hulon “Pappy” White and later moved to Tuskegee, Alabama.
After World War II, White and her husband, along with other Tuskegee Airman, created the Sky Ranch Flying Service, which was a flight school, delivery service and airport, with the mission to serve the Black community during segregation.
White earned her pilot’s license in 1946 and flew with the Tuskegee Airman, who had come home from World War II, according to the Lone Star Flight Museum.
In 2018, White was inducted into the Organization of Black Aerospace Professionals Hall of Fame and Texas Aviation Hall of Fame. In speaking with KTRK, following her induction, White said, “I just had a good time in life.”
Our thoughts are with Azellia White’s family during this time.