Dallas honors one of the city’s first Black flight attendants

Dallas City Council members – The Dallas Examiner screenshot/City Hall video

Special to The Dallas Examiner


Mayor Eric Johnson has proclaimed Feb. 11, as “Celebrating the Life of CJ Bostic Day” in the city, after Charlene Jenkins “CJ” Bostic, the first Black flight attendant hired by Southwest Airlines.

The proclamation was provided to Bostic’s family ahead of her funeral service – which was also the 64th anniversary of the date the first African American flight attendant was hired in the United States. It described her as an extraordinary woman. Throughout her career, she displayed a high degree of professionalism and care to everyone she met. She was known for her warmth, her compassion and her spirit of positivity. She made a lasting impression on thousands of fellow flight attendants and customers.

C.J. Bostic was born on April 12, 1948 in Lockhart, Texas. After graduating from high school, she went onto college in New Jersey. After college, she relocated to Dallas and began working as a model for clients such as Neiman Marcus and Rothschild’s.

In 1972, she was hired by Southwest Airlines, based in Dallas, during the company’s first year of operations and joined its third class of flight attendants. As the airline’s first Black flight attendant, she endured racist comments and incidents from passengers. However, she remained strong and resilient, continuing to demonstrate kindness to everyone around her.

Those who worked with her reminisced on how she made them feel like she was their equal, never above but always working alongside them, encouraging them to have faith and love for one another.

Many who knew her recalled her CJ bracelets, which featured a heart and was given as gifts to over 150 individuals to thank them for their friendship or for their efforts at work.

She had an exemplary track record of leadership and dedication, which was why Southwest Airlines called upon her to participate in several significant marketing campaigns for the company.

Bostic worked for Southwest for nearly 50 years and became an icon in the industry. She died of cancer Jan. 10 at the age of 73.

Her contributions were also recognized with numerous awards, such as:

  • 1981 Founders Award
  • 2005 Flight Attendant of the Quarter
  • 2006 Founders Award
  • 2012 Flight Attendant of the Month
  • 2015 Outstanding Crew Award
  • 2016 Customer Service Award

Bostic’s generosity extended to supporting a number of notable charities in our community, including Feed The Children, Heifer International, Mercy Ships and Doctors Without Borders.

In memory of how much Bostic gave to others, her family asked the public to support the newly created CJ Bostic Memorial Scholarship Fund to benefit future nursing students at Collin College in Plano.


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