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Marlon Green tore down racial barriers, paving the way for every other African American who has worked as a pilot for a major airline. On leaving the Air Force, Marlon Green applied to at least ten U.S. airlines for a pilot’s position. He was turned down by all until finally leaving blank the box marked “racial identity” and deliberately failing to send along the two requested photographs. This time, he was scheduled to show up for flight tests. Although he was acknowledged to be highly qualified, once again, he was not hired. Green filed a complaint under a Colorado anti-discrimination law that was ruled in his favor. The decision was challenged by the airline and ultimately made it to the U.S. Supreme Court, which in April 1963 issued a unanimous ruling in his favor, clearing the way to a pilot position with a major U.S. airline. His seniority with the airline was dated 1957, giving him seniority beginning the year he would have been hired originally. He was promoted to captain in 1966 and retired from the airline in 1978. The Organization of Black Airline Pilots honored him with their Lifetime Achievement Award in 2003.


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