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Louis Freeman, Southwest’s First Black Pilot Retires After 37 Years With A Tear-Jerking Sendoff

Louis Freeman Southwest’s First Black Pilot Retires After 37 Years With A Tear-Jerking Sendoff

Louis Freeman, Southwest’s First Black Pilot Retires After 37 Years With A Tear-Jerking Sendoff

Louis Freeman started with the airline almost four decades ago. The 64-year-old Southwest Airlines pilot retired after nearly 37 years with the airline and his celebration was sincerely moving. When he started at age 25, Louis Freeman was Southwest’s first black pilot, though he didn’t know it at the time. He later became the first black chief pilot at any major U.S. airline, paving the way for pilots of color in an industry where minorities are scarce. “It never occurred to me but when I got here I was the only pilot of color, it didn’t take long to figure out,” he told the Associated Press. “I put a whole lot of pressure on myself because I had to get it right. I had to be perfect because I wanted them to hire more of us.”

Freeman is clearly beloved at the airline, where he mentored plenty of younger pilots. “I strive to mentor all pilots, I let it be known I am just a phone call away, any day and any hour,” Freeman told HuffPost. “I love to talk, and I love to help others problem solve. Some of the young pilots presented me a poster calling me ‘the Godfather.’” Five of those mentored pilots turned up at the gate for Freeman’s final flight from Dallas to Chicago. His long pilot’s career has encompassed his rise to management and the honor of flying the body of civil rights pioneer Rosa Parks from Detroit to her funeral in Montgomery, Ala. For his last trip, Freeman flew a plane full of friends with his wife, son and champagne for his passengers. He said he hopes his career inspires others. “I want people to know their dream is possible,” Freeman said. “If you dream it and if you really want it, you can make it yours. Sure, it will take work, dedication, focus, determination and knowledge, but you can do it.” The former Air Force pilot landed to a water cannon salute. Congratulations, Captain Lou!!

There Was Always The First One Who Filled That Spot On The Long Road To Integration

Susan Z’s Conclusion:

The obvious thing that came to mind over Freeman’s retirement is it was all about the flying and people and not focusing on that “yes, he was the first black pilot for Southwest”. He was doing what he loved and got to do it for 37 years regardless of color!

Judgement: Inverted (Upside Down)
This card is about change on the horizon. I am sure 37 years ago being the first black pilot he met with his fair share of “racial incidences” but since the card was pulled inverted, I believe it supports my above statement that he was there for the love of flying and did not consider that his agenda was about breaking down color barriers.

Nine of Cups:
This card is getting your wish and being content with it. I think the card says it all for Freeman and his career as a pilot.

Five of Swords: Inverted
This card is what I call the wuss card and being taken advantage of. Since the card was drawn inverted, I believe that he, as they say, “didn’t take any shit” from anyone and just did his job being friendly to everyone.


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