United Airlines Caps Off Black History Month With Tuskegee Airman Event at Willis Tower

February 27, 2015

Mr. O. Lawton Wilkerson received his wings in 1946 and trained to fly the B-25 bomber.

CHICAGO, Feb. 27, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- To cap a series of celebrations for Black History Month, United Airlines this morning hosted one of the original Tuskegee Airmen, O. Lawton Wilkerson, at a packed event at the airline's headquarters at Willis Tower in downtown Chicago. Mr. Wilkerson joined fellow members of the Chicago Chapter of the Tuskegee Airman and several other guests for a celebration of African American involvement in aviation throughout history.

Original Tuskegee Airman O. Lawton Wilkerson talks with United Airlines employees about African American involvement in aviation at the airline's headquarters at Willis Tower.

"At United, we support the rich diversity of ideas, experiences and cultures of our employees, customers and business partners," said Greg Jones, United's managing director of Diversity and Inclusion. "Diversity is a value that binds and inspires us to continuously improve who we are as a company."

Today's event was just one of several that United hosted for customers and employees throughout the month of February commemorating important figures, milestones and traditions in the African American community. A few of the celebration events included:

  • The airline's first of several hub events in early February was focused around music, themed, "The Celebration of Our Heritage in Music." Employees at United's Houston hub listened to Cheryl Cohen sing what is often referred to as the Black National Anthem, "Lift Every Voice"; watched the Prairie View A&M University Dancers perform; and listened to former pastor of Wheeler Baptist Church William Lawson talk about significant events in history.
  • On February 18, civil rights activist, author and radio host Dorothy Wright Tillman visited employees at United's reservations center in Chicago to talk to them about growing up in Montgomery, Alabama, working closely with Martin Luther King, Jr., and joining the civil rights movement as a young teen.
  • On Tuesday, United's San Francisco hub hosted more than 300 employees and customers for an event featuring traditional soul food, games, authentic African drumming and musical performances by United employees. United Captain James Simmons spoke to the audience about his career as an African American chief pilot for the airline while the Museum of the African Diaspora in San Francisco hosted an informational table.

In addition to celebration events, United is proud to support organizations that promote and encourage African American heritage and education throughout the year, including:

  • Harlem Fine Arts Show
  • The UNCF Houston
  • Thurgood Marshall College Fund
  • Upwardly Global
  • NAACP Houston
  • Ebony Magazine
  • The Chicago Urban League
  • DuSable Museum of African American History
  • California African American Museum
  • James Jordan Foundation

To learn more about United's commitment to diversity and inclusion, click here.

About United

United Airlines and United Express operate an average of 5,055 flights a day to 373 airports across six continents. In 2014, United and United Express operated nearly two million flights carrying 138 million customers. United is proud to have the world's most comprehensive route network, including U.S. mainland hubs in Chicago, Denver, Houston, Los Angeles, New York/Newark, San Francisco and Washington, D.C. United operates nearly 700 mainline aircraft, and this year, the airline anticipates taking delivery of 34 new Boeing aircraft, including the 787-9 and the 737-900ER. United is also welcoming 49 new Embraer E175 aircraft to United Express. The airline is a founding member of Star Alliance, which provides service to 193 countries via 27 member airlines. More than 84,000 United employees reside in every U.S. state and in countries around the world. For more information, visit united.com, follow @United on Twitter or connect on Facebook. The common stock of United's parent, United Continental Holdings, Inc., is traded on the NYSE under the symbol UAL.

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SOURCE United Airlines

For further information: United Airlines Worldwide Media Relations, +1-872-825-8640, media.relations@united.com