Bessie Coleman

Country of Birth:

USA Birthday:

January 26th, 1892 Zodiac:


The 411:

She was the first African-American woman, and also the first Native-American, to hold a pilot license. When Coleman 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. It took Coleman seven months to learn how to fly. The only non-Caucasian student in her class, she was taught in a 27-foot biplane that was known to fail frequently, sometimes in the air. When Coleman returned to the U.S. in September 1921, scores of reporters turned out to meet her. 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."

Where to read more: PBS: Women in American History & Fly High! The Story of Bessie Coleman.

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