First African American female Air Force colonel buried - The Washington Post: The first African American woman to be promoted to colonel in the Air Force was buried on a sultry Wednesday afternoon in Arlington National Cemetery, surrounded by scores of airmen in dress blues and about a dozen friends and family in somber summer suits and within sight of the soaring Air Force Memorial.
Ruth Alice Lucas, 92, who died March 23, “never accepted the injustice and prejudice of her time, and today we too must look for new ways in which we can better our world,” an Air Force chaplain, Maj. Robin Stephenson-Bratcher, said at the graveside.
Lucas worked the field of research, education and training, with particular interest in literacy.
In the November 1969 issue of Ebony magazine, she noted that among the servicemen then entering the military annually, “about 45,000 of them read below the fifth-grade level, and more than 30 percent of these men are black. Right now if I have any aim, it’s just to reach these men, to interest them in education and to motivate them to continue on.”
That issue featured a photo spread of the colonel holding on to her beret as she dashed from a military helicopter at the Pentagon.