Illinois Authors

The Illinois Center for the Book banner

William R. Norwood

Born: 1936 in Centralia, Illinois
Pen Name: None

Connection to Illinois: Norwood was born and raised in Centralia. He graduated from Southern Illinois University in Carbondale with his BA in 1959 and the University of Chicago with his MBA in 1974.

Biography: William 'Bill' Norwood is a Lincoln Laureate and a retired United Airlines captain. He was the first African American pilot for United Airlines. He flew the 'friendly skies' for 31 years before retiring in 1996. Bill, who was in ROTC at Southern Illinois University, flew the B-52 in the Air Force. His inspiration was his elementary school principal in his small southern Illinois town of Centralia, who was a pilot with the Tuskegee Airmen in World War II.


Primary Literary Genre(s): Non-Fiction

Primary Audience(s): Adult readers

William R. Norwood/SIU Alumni Hall of Fame :
William R. Norwood on WorldCat :

Selected Titles

Cleared for takeoff :
ISBN: 1457523604 OCLC: 869904949

Dog Ear Pub., Indianapolis, IN : ©2013.

A memoir by the first African American pilot hired by United Airlines.