The Postal Service will issue a stamp next month honoring the head instructor for the Tuskegee Airmen, the first black military pilots who fought in World War II.
The postage commemorating pioneering aviator Charles Alfred Anderson will be unveiled March 13 at a ceremony in Bryn Mawr, the Philadelphia suburb where he grew up.
In 1932, Anderson became the first African American to earn a commercial pilot's license. He went on to teach flying to hundreds of black cadets at the Tuskegee Institute in Alabama.
Anderson had become fascinated with planes as a boy, according to his son.
"Nobody ever came along and said, 'Let me take you for a ride,' because nobody around him flew," Charles Alfred Anderson Jr. told The Philadelphia Inquirer. "His inspiration was looking up at the sky and seeing airplanes."
Discrimination made it hard for Anderson to find someone to teach him how to fly, so he learned by reading books and getting tips from young white pilots. He later borrowed money from family and friends to buy his own plane, which he rented in exchange for lessons.
The 70-cent stamp notes Anderson's affectionate nickname of "Chief," which is what Tuskegee students called him.
Anderson died in 1996 at the age of 89. He was inducted into the National Aviation Hall of Fame last year.
Copyright 2014 The Associated Press.