Milton Crenchaw, American aviator, Died at 96

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Milton Pitts Crenchaw was born on January 13, 1919, and died on November 17, 2015.

He was an American aviator who was considered the father of black aviation in Arkansas.

Milton was the first Arkansan to be successfully trained by the federal government as a civilian licensed pilot.

He overcame the social injustices of racism and bigotry to serve his country during World War II as a civilian flight instructor.

Milton was born to Reverend Joseph C. Crenchaw and Ethel Pitts Crenchaw at Little Rock, Arkansas, in 1919.

His father was a local civil rights leader with the NAACP who was president of the Little Rock Chapter during the Little Rock Central High School Crisis, and a professional tailor.

His mother was a beautician. Milton had three siblings.

Milton graduated from Dunbar High School (the local black high school) in 1936.

After graduating, he attended Dunbar Junior College, where he received a teaching certificate in auto mechanics.

After leaving Dunbar Junior College, Milton pursued a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering at the Tuskegee Institute in 1939.

Milton did not receive a degree, however, because he postponed his academics to pursue becoming a pilot.

He was the first Arkansan to arrive and to graduate from Moton Airbase in Tuskegee, Alabama.

Milton passed away at age 96 in November 2015.

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