[WORLDKINGS] On this day - June 15, 2023 – The 102nd Anniversary of Bessie Coleman becoming the first African-American female pilot (1921)


(Worldkings.org) On June 15, 1921, Bessie Coleman became the first African American woman and first woman with Native American ancestry to earn a pilot’s license.

Bessie Coleman (January 26, 1892 – April 30, 1926) was an early American civil aviator. She was the first African-American woman and first Native American to hold a pilot license. She earned her license from the Fédération Aéronautique Internationale on June 15, 1921, and was the first Black person to earn an international pilot's license.


Born into a large family of sharecroppers in Texas, Coleman worked in the cotton fields at a young age while also studying in a small segregated school. She attended one term of college at Langston University. Coleman developed an early interest in flying, but African Americans, Native Americans, and women had no flight training opportunities in the United States. Luckily obtaining sponsorships in Chicago to go to France for flight school, Coleman quickly learned French, gathered her savings, and crossed the Atlantic Ocean to learn to fly at the Caudron Brothers School of Aviation.

On June 15, 1921, Coleman became the first black woman and first Native American to earn an aviation pilot's license and the first black person and first Native American to earn an international aviation license from the Fédération Aéronautique Internationale. Determined to polish her skills, Coleman spent the next two months taking lessons from a French ace pilot near Paris and, in September 1921, she sailed for America. She became a media sensation when she returned to the United States.


She then became a high-profile pilot in notoriously dangerous air shows in the United States. She was popularly known as "Queen Bess" and "Brave Bessie", and hoped to start a school for African-American fliers. Coleman died in a plane crash in 1926. Her pioneering role was an inspiration to early pilots and to the African-American and Native American communities.


According to Wikipedia & womenshistory.si.edu

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