top of page

TheForgotten Storyof the First African American Female Pilot, Bessie Coleman

by Leo Vance Updated July 8, 2023 Hubpages

When most people think of pioneering aviators, names like Charles Lindbergh and Amelia Earhart come to mind But long before they took to the skies, there was a trailblazing pilot who has been largely forgotten by history: Bessie Coleman Not only was she the first African American woman to earn a pilot's license, but she also overcame immense obstacles to pursue her dream of flying.

Bessie Coleman was born in 1892 in Texas, one of thirteen children Her parents were sharecroppers, and the family lived in a one-room cabin without electricity or running water. Despite the challenges of her upbringing, Bessie was determined to get an education. She attended a one-room schoolhouse and later enrolled in Langston University, an all-black college in Oklahoma.

After college, Bessie worked as a manicurist in Chicago, where she heard stories of World War I pilots and their exploits. She became fascinated with flying and was determined to become a pilot herself. However, as an African American woman in the early 20th century, she faced enormous obstacles.

- Breaking Barriers

Bessie's first obstacle was finding a flight school that would accept her. In the United States, no flight school would admit an African American, let alone a woman. Undaunted, Bessie learned French and moved to France, where she enrolled in flight school She earned her pilot's license in just seven months, becoming the first African American woman to do so.

After earning her license, Bessie returned to the United States and became a barnstormer, performing in air shows across the country She was a fearless pilot who performed dangerous stunts, including loops and dives, and became known as "Queen Bess "

- Legacy and Impact

Bessie's legacy extends far beyond her pioneering achievements as a pilot. She inspired countless others, especially African Americans and women, to pursue their dreams despite the obstacles they faced She also used her fame to speak out against racial discrimination and to encourage black Americans to vote

Tragically, Bessie's life was cut short when she died in a plane crash in 1926 However, her memory lives on as a symbol of perseverance, courage, and determination

Thiscontent isaccurate and trueto thebest of the author?sknowledgeand isnot meant to substitute for formal and individualized advicefrom a qualified professional

© 2023 Leo Vance

2 views0 comments


bottom of page