Hart, Philip S. 1944-

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Hart, Philip S. 1944-


Born June 12, 1944, in Denver, CO; son of Judson and Murlee (an educator) Hart; married March 22, 1969; wife's name Tanya K. (a television/radio personality); children: Ayanna Hart-Beebe. Ethnicity: "African American." Education: University of Colorado, Boulder, B.A. (cum laude); Michigan State University, M.A., Ph.D., 1974. Politics: Democrat. Religion: Pentecostal, Church of Christ.


Home and office—Los Angeles, CA; Edgartown, MA. Office—ULI-LA, 444 S. Flower St., Los Angeles, CA 90071. E-mail—[email protected]; [email protected]


Educator, businessman, filmmaker, and author. University of Massachusetts, Boston, professor of sociology, 1974-2002, and director of William Monroe Trotter Institute for the Study of Black Culture; Tanya Hart Communications, Los Angeles, CA, vice president, 1995—; Hart Realty Advisors, Los Angeles, chief executive officer, 2002—; Urban Land Institute (nonprofit land-use organization), Los Angeles, member and advisor, 2006—. Federation of Boston Community Schools, former executive director; Greater Boston YMCA Black Achievers Branch, founder and co-chair; John W. McCormack Institute of Public Affairs, senior fellow; University of California—Los Angeles visiting research sociologist at Center for Afro-American Studies. AbilityFirst Housing Governance Board, Pasadena, CA, vice chair; Hollywood Wilshire YMCA, member of board of managers; American City Coalition, Boston, MA, chief executive officer, 1999-2002. Project manager on construction projects, including West Angeles Church. Documentary filmmaker; film, television, and radio commentator.


University of Colorado Alumni Association, Rotary Club of Los Angeles, Hollywood Chamber of Commerce, Los Angeles Library Foundation.

Awards, Honors

Notable Children's Trade Book in Social Studies designation, 2002, for Flying Free; Distinguished Alumni honor, University of Colorado; Human Dignitary Award, Metropolitan Los Angeles YMCA; February 2, 2002 declared "Philip S. Hart Day" by Commonwealth of Massachusetts.



Flying Free: America's First Black Aviators, Lerner Publications (Minneapolis, MN), 1992.

Up in the Air: The Story of Bessie Coleman, Carolrhoda Books (Minneapolis, MN), 1996, revised for younger readers as Bessie Coleman: Just the Facts, Lerner Publications (Minneapolis, MN), 2005.


James Edward Blackwell, Health Needs of Urban Blacks, Solomon Fuller Institute (Cambridge, MA), 1978.

James Edward Blackwell, Cities, Suburbs, and Blacks: A Study of Concerns, Distrust, and Alienation, General Hall (Bayside, NY), 1982.

The Competitive Advantage of the Inner City: Does Race Matter?, William Monroe Trotter Institute (Boston, MA), 1995.

Contributor to anthologies, including In Pursuit of Equality in Higher Education, edited by Anne Pruit, General Hall Books, 1987; and In the Vineyards: Churches and Community Development, edited by Georgia Persons, 2005. Contributor of articles to periodicals, including Sociological Practice and Urban Land.


Flyers in Search of a Dream, produced by Public Broadcasting Service, 1987.

Dark Passages, produced by Black Entertainment Television, 1990.


Hart's documentary films have been adapted for home video. Up in the Air was adapted as a television film.


Described by a Boston Globe interviewer as a "Renaissance" man due to his wide-ranging interests, his lifetime of public service, and his inspiring career as an educator, Philip S. Hart wears many hats: author, documentary filmmaker, educator, urban planner, and real-estate developer, among others. Working for over twenty-five years at the University of Massachusetts at Boston as a professor of sociology, Hart also directed the university's William Monroe Trotter Institute for the Study of Black Culture before retiring in 2002. Drawing on the history of his own family, he authored Flying Free: America's First Black Aviators, a book that inspired the History Channel production Black Aviators: Flying Free. Hart's own films, which include a documentary on pioneering black aviators titled Flyers in Search of a Dream that aired on public television, have led to other creative endeavors, including his children's book Up in the Air: The Story of Bessie Coleman.

In Up in the Air Hart chronicles the life of pioneering African-American pilot Bessie Coleman, a brave woman who gained renown in the early days of aviation. Determined to leave her life of poverty in Texas, Coleman traveled to France after being rejected from countless U.S. aviation schools due to her race, and she became a pilot in 1921. Hart's biography follows Coleman's eventful life up until her tragic death in 1926, in a plane crash. Drawing on detailed research to provide an accurate portray of Coleman's life, the author delves into both her personal and professional life and incorporates numerous photographs and original documents into the work. Reviewing Up in the Air for Booklist, Carolyn Phelan praised Hart for creating "a very readable account of Coleman's life."

As Hart recalled to SATA, "I began writing at an early age. My first published piece was when I was an undergraduate at the University of Colorado. I grew up in a family with ties to American aviation history.

"While in junior high school I began doing research on my mother's uncle, James Herman Banning, a pioneering black aviator in the 1920s. This research led to the Smithsonian Institute's ‘Black Wings’ exhibit which opened in 1982. My wife and I then produced a PBS documentary film Flyers in Search of a Dream, which aired in 1987.

"Reeve Lindbergh, a writer and the daughter of well-known early twentieth-century American aviator Charles Lindbergh, saw the PBS film, contacted me, and encouraged me to adopt some of these stories into children's books. Lerner Publishing subsequently published three of my children's books on the topic of America's first black aviators starting in 1992."

Biographical and Critical Sources


Booklist, October 15, 1992, Sheilamae O'Hara, review of Flying Free: America's First Black Aviators, p. 421; August, 1996, Carolyn Phelan, review of Up in the Air: The Story of Bessie Coleman, p. 1898.

Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books, December, 1992, review of Flying Free, p. 112.

Five Owls, September, 1993, review of Flying Free, p. 6.

School Library Journal, January, 1993, Eunice Weech, review of Flying Free, p. 113; August, 1996, Phyllis Graves, review of Up in the Air, p. 156.


Philip Hart Home Page,http://www.hartrealtyadvisors.com (May 14, 2007).