Celebrating Black History: Bessie Coleman


Celebrating Black History: Bessie Coleman

By Bobbee Denise
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The first licensed African American Female pilot was named Bessie Coleman. Bessie Coleman was born in Atlanta, Texas in 1892. At the age of 23, she moved to Chicago seeking opportunity and fortune to escape her world of harsh poverty, discrimination, and segregation. Hearing stories from soldiers who flew in WWI, she was inspired to take up aviation. Unfortunately, being black and a woman it was not looking good for her.

In 1920 she decided to grab all her savings, received help from Robert Abbot, one of the first African American millionaires, and traveled to France to learn to be a pilot and study French. In June of 1921, the Fédération Aéronautique Internationale awarded her an international pilot's license. When Bessie Coleman returned to the United States, she was greeted by reporters from all over.

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