Happy Birthday to pioneer Bessie Coleman. Coleman holds two very significant firsts: she was the first African-American woman pilot and the first African-American to hold an international pilot’s license.
Coleman was tenth of 13 children. Born in 1892 in Texas, she was part of a family who were not strangers to racial barriers and overt racism in the United States, as evidenced by she and her family picking cotton. Her father (part Cherokee) was finally fed up with the racism in Texas and returned to “Indian Territory,” what is now Oklahoma.
In 1920, Bessie Coleman went to France and learned to fly in Paris. She did a bit of traveling through Europe and learned her craft as a pilot. Upon returning to the United States, she became known as “Queen Bess.”
Upon her death in 1926, people like the amazing Ida B. Wells attended her funeral.