Black History Month
Bessie Coleman was the first licensed Black woman pilot in the WORLD. When Coleman turned 23, she decided she wanted to learn to fly, the double stigma of her race and gender meant that she would have to travel to France to realize her dreams. The "Air Service News" noted that Coleman had become "a full-fledged aviatrix, the first of her race." She was invited as a guest of honor to attend the all-black musical "Shuffle Along." The entire audience, including the several hundred whites in the orchestra seats, rose to give the first African American female pilot a standing ovation. Coleman performed at countless air shows. Despite being the first licensed Black pilot in the world, Coleman wasn’t recognized as a pioneer in aviation until after her death. Though history has favored Amelia Earhart or the Wright brothers, Coleman, who went to flight school in France in 1919, paved the way for a new generation of diverse fliers like the Tuskegee airmen, Blackbirds, and Flying Hobos!