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Eugene Bullard
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    (October 9, 1895-October 12, 1961)
    Born in Columbus, Georgia
    Served with the French infantry and French Air Service during World War I
    First African-American combat pilot
    Nicknamed 'The Black Swallow of Death'
    He changed his middle name from James to Jacques.
    He stowed away to Europe when he was twelve.
    He is sometimes credited with shooting down two German planes, but the kills were never officially confirmed.
    After being a pilot for nine months, he got into a fistfight with a French officer and was transfered back to the infantry.
    He spent his last years in obscurity, working as an elevator operator at Rockefeller Center.
    He witnessed a mob trying to lynch his father.
    He was seriously wounded during the Battle of Verdun.
    Between the World Wars, he owned a nightclub in Paris and befriended Josephine Baker, Louis Armstrong and Langston Hughes.
    During World War II, he joined the forces defending Orleans and was wounded by an exploding shell.
    After escaping to the US, he participated in several War Bond drives.
    During a riot after a Paul Robeson concert in Peekskill, New York, he was beaten by a mob, including policemen (1949).
    He was one of three men chosen to relight the Eternal Flame at the French Tomb of the Unknown Soldier (1954).

Credit: C. Fishel

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