Julius J. Alexander, Jr. was born in Tuskegee, Alabama in 1937. When he was just weeks old his family moved to Atlanta, Georgia where he grew up and was educated in the Atlantic Public School System. After graduating from high school, he returned to Alabama to attend Tuskegee University. Having been exposed to aviation through the Air Force ROTC program at Tuskegee, Alexander took flying lessons in the interim between his first and second year of college while working full time to earn money to continue school. He made his first solo flight in a Piper J-3 Cub on January 22, 1956.
He transferred to and graduated from Morehouse College, in 1959 and became a teacher for Atlanta Public Schools. Alexander earned his pilot’s license in 1964 and in 1965 he was selected as one of the three teachers to teach a new innovative aviation course. With this assignment he became a pioneer in high school aviation education in Atlanta. An essay on his idea of the ideal high school aviation program netted him an invitation from Cessna Aircraft to be one of 10 aviation teachers throughout the country to attend an aviation education workshop in Wichita, Kansas. In 1970, Alexander wrote a major article for Science Activities Magazine, entitled, “Wings for the Black Ghetto.” The article conveyed the success he experienced in using the aviation class and flying as a tool for academic improvement and self esteem for the inner city economically deprived students at Atlanta’s Price High School.
Alexander also formed a Civil Air Patrol cadet squadron at Price High School so that younger students who could not participate in the 11th and 12th grade aviation course could learn the disciplines of aviation. During his tenure as a high school aviation teacher Alexander earned FAA certifications as a ground instructor, commercial pilot, multi-engine pilot, and flight instructor for single and multi-engine airplanes. On Saturdays, he provided flying lessons for his students who sold candy bars to raise money to pay for the rental of a Cessna 150. Today, two of his former Price High School students from the Carver Homes public housing projects are now captains with US Airways.
Alexander was the first civilian African American flight instructor to train students at Atlanta’s Fulton County Airport (Brown Field). In 1974 aviation classes were discontinued in Atlanta and he accepted an offer from Lockheed Martin Aerospace Corporation in nearby Marietta, Georgia. As a publicist for Lockheed, he sharpened his aviation writing skills and several of his aviation articles have been published.
Desiring to continue working with youths Alexander, organized a program for aviation training for teenagers under contract with Atlanta’s Super Summer 1977 program. This led to a contract with the National Alliance of Business to design an Aviation Enrichment Program for youths. Alexander led a team that designed Aviation Career Education (ACE) which is widely in use today in ACE camps throughout the U.S. In 1980, he founded Aviation career Enrichment, Inc., a youth motivation program that operates a Weekend Flight Academy for youngsters between the ages of 9 and 18. Feature stories on this unique program have appeared in Private Pilot Magazine, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, and in the Marietta Daily Journal and its affiliated Neighbor newspapers. TV news features have appeared on CNN and locally in the Atlanta area Fox News, WXIA, and WGNX. In 2004, 2005, 2007, and 2009 feature stories on the ACE program were published in AutoPilot Magazine, AOPA Flight Training Magazine published an article written by an ACE student about the Academy.
Alexander retired from Lockheed in 1997 as a Senior Public Relations Representative. He has logged over 11,000 hours and has taught 157 pilots through first solo. Fifteen of his former students are now flying with major airlines.