Nia Wordlaw sits for a PBS interview. Below, she’s pictured in the September 2015 issue of Marie Claire magazine. Wordlaw was born in Chicago and raised in the western suburbs, attending grade school at Lindop in Broadview. She currently a first officer of a B-787 airplane and is based in Houston, Texas.
Monday, November 2, 2015 || Published: The Beachwood Reporter || 11/1/15 || By WNET
Chicago area native Nia Wordlaw is one of 15 women featured in American Masters: The Women’s List [which premiered nationwide in September] on PBS and locally on WTTW. The film is available same day on DVD via Perfect Day Films Inc. at shoppbs.org and is streaming on the American Masters website.
Wordlaw is one of approximately 25 black female pilots flying for a major airline in the U.S. today.
She attended Lindop Elementary School in Broadview, IL, Oak Park and River Forest High School in Oak Park, IL, Lewis University in Romeoville, IL and is an alumnus of Southern Illinois University, where she did her flight training. She moved to Houston in 2007 and is currently employed by United Airlines.
At age 10 she knew she wanted to fly after attending space camp, even though she had never seen a Black female pilot. She heard that a funeral was being held in the area for Janet Harmon Bragg, a pilot who circumvented racist attitudes about Black pilots and in the 1940s helped to build an airfield in the then-all-Black town of Robbins, Ill.”
When she met a black female pilot at the service, she hugged her and cried. Now, as a pilot who’s been flying commercially for 15 years, with regular routes to South America, Africa and Europe, Wordlaw said she hopes she can be a role model to kids who stare at the sky like she once did.
She is that role model to at least one local teenager. Her 13-year-old son dreams of being a pilot one day, just like his mom.
“‘It just makes a difference to see someone who looks like you,’ she says in the documentary, noting that she has been hugged and kissed while walking through airports in her uniform.” VFP
For more news and information, ‘Like’ Village Free Press on Facebook: