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Jesse Leroy Brown set his sights on flying when he was just a youngster working in Mississippi’s corn and cotton fields. Growing up as the son of a sharecropper, whenever he spotted an airplane overhead, young Jesse would declare that someday he was going to be a pilot. His family always laughed good-naturedly at what they thought of as a joke. But this gifted student and athlete made good his promise soon after World War II ended, becoming the U.S. Navy’s first black flier.
By Ron Edwards, Aviation History Magazine