An inspirational list: 20 Bessie Coleman facts: America’s first black female pilot. Bessie Coleman was ahead of her
time. Coleman was the very first Black, Native American female to become a pilot.
She was a
forward-thinking leader. And not surprisingly, fans nicknamed her “Queen Bess.” Coleman broke racial barriers and inspired many people. Sadly, as the first black female pilot, she also dealt with racism and sexism along the way.
perseverance paid off. She turned an incredible dream into a reality. A pioneer and a visionary, Bessie Coleman is one of history’s greatest inspirational leaders. So, without further ado, we present 20 Bessie Coleman Facts: America’s First Black Female Pilot.
Last Updated on March 28, 2019
Bessie Coleman’s propensity for
mathematics saved her from working in the cotton fields.
Bessie Coleman was also the first
Native American female pilot. On June 15, 1921, Coleman was the first American woman to obtain an international pilot’s license from the Fédération Aéronautique Internationale.
On Labor Day in 1922, Bessie Coleman staged the first
public flight by an African American woman. She was popular at aerial shows but refused to play for segregated audiences.
It was because Bessie Coleman was
black and a female that she was denied access to aviator schools in the United States. She ended up saving money and applying for flight school abroad.
Bessie Coleman spoke at numerous schools to encourage
black students to become aviators. Sadly, before she was able to fulfill her dream of running a flight school, she died.
There is no information on how she got this name, but Bessie Coleman’s
nickname is “Queen Bess.”
Not only did Bessie Coleman have to walk four miles to
school, but she walked four miles to a school that was segregated.
Bessie Coleman worked as a
manicurist at The Whitesox Barbershop. She worked there when she moved to Chicago in 1912. It was at this barbershop that she got inspired to fly.
Bessie Coleman received her pilot license on June 15th, 1921. Since then, she has
inspired many female pilots to get their licenses.
Bessie Coleman was born in Atlanta, Texas. She had 12 siblings. Her father was part
Native and African American.
Sadly, he left the
family when Coleman was very young. She, along with her siblings helped their single mother to survive.
The city of Orlando, FL, changed a
street name to Bessie Coleman’s name. It was originally called West Washington Street, but it became Bessie Coleman street afterward.
Coleman was a longtime Orlando resident and the
city wanted to honor her. Luckily, she was able to see the name change before she died.
In order to prepare for her flight school in
France, Bessie Colemen studied at the Berlitz School.
Bessie Coleman was offered a role in a
film called “Shadow and Sunshine.” When she discovered that the role would stereotype African Americans, she walked off the set.
Bessie Coleman was a
stubborn woman and she didn’t let anyone get in her way. That included businesspeople.
In one incident, she walked off a set and
angered her investors. They withdrew their contributions and called her actions “temperamental” and “eccentric.”
After Bessie Coleman’s
death, black women flyers founded the Bessie Coleman Aero Clubs in 1975. And, it is open to women of all color.
In 1995 the post office honored Queen Bess with a
Bessie Coleman’s first
aerial show took place at Curtiss Field. It was to honor black veterans of World War One. The crowd was so amazed by it, she was nicknamed “The World’s Greatest Woman Flyer.”
Bessie Coleman died
performing a trick in Jacksonville, Florida. She had planned a parachute jump, so Coleman didn’t have her seatbelt on. The Curtiss JN-4 (Jenny) was a small plane and unsteady.
Unfortunately, when the plane made a
sudden nosedive, Coleman was ejected from her seat and she died on impact.
She went across the country lecturing about
flying. Her goals were to get people excited to fly and attend her school.
In 1923, she was injured in a
plane crash and bedridden for many months. She told a reporter, “tell the world I’m coming back.”
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