Florida Memorial University will award him a posthumous degree in aviation
By Frederick H. Lowe
MIAMI—Before his life was snuffed out by a bullet fired by George Zimmerman, Trayvon Martin dreamed of becoming a pilot or an aircraft mechanic, aspirations rarely mentioned about him following his violent death.
On May 13 during commencement exercises, Florida Memorial University in Miami Gardens, Fla., will award Martin a posthumous Bachelor of Science Degree in Aviation.
His mother, Sabrina Fulton, a Florida Memorial graduate, and his father, Tracy Martin, will accept the degree for their son who was shot to death Feb. 26, 2012, in Sanford, Fla., where the 17-year old was visiting his father.
Although Trayvon was unarmed, an all- women’s jury acquitted Zimmerman, a neighborhood watch captain, in the teenager’s violent death. Zimmerman trailed and killed Trayvon, claiming he looked suspicious.
The degree, which will include a concentration in flight education, honors Trayvon for the steps he took during his young life toward becoming a pilot, Florida Memorial University wrote on its website. This particular Bachelor’s degree is designated for those studying to be pilots, school officials said.
The news that Trayvon Martin was studying to become a pilot is a revelation because police and Zimmerman effectively painted him as another black teenage thug complete with gold-capped teeth and no aspirations.
Trayvon studied at George T. Baker Aviation Technical College in Miami during his freshman year of high school after being inspired by his uncle Ronald Fulton who had a brief career in aviation, Sabrina Fulton told the Tampa Tribune newspaper.
He also was influenced by Barrington Irving, who in 2007 became the first black man to fly solo around the world. Irving, who operates the Flying Classroom in Opa-Locka, Fla., took him to his plane in Opa-Locka, Sabrina Fulton told the paper. Irving is an active member of Ford Motor Co.’s Men of Courage program, which is working to change the negative narrative about black men.
Trayvon also was interested in becoming an airline mechanic because of his mechanical ability, his mother said.