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StoryCorps Chicago

StoryCorps Chicago: Pioneering Black Flight Attendants: 'We Knew We Were Representing Our Race'

Warning: This story contains an offensive term

When Casey Grant and Debra Surrett started working as stewardesses in the 1970s, it was rare for black women to land the job. 

The way they tell it, being up in the air was glamorous back then: On flights they wore hats and gloves and served five-course meals. But they were also treated unfairly by their white co-workers. 

Things got better in the 1980s and 90s, as more black women became flight attendants. 

Both Grant and Surrett are retired now, but recently they got together at the StoryCorps booth at the Chicago Cultural Center to reminisce about breaking the color barrier.

Casey Grant wrote a book about their experiences called Stars in the Sky: Stories of the First African American Flight Attendants.

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