Bessie Coleman - First African-American Female Pilot

Bessie Coleman - First African-American Female Pilot African American History American History Social Studies Aviation & Space Exploration Tragedies and Triumphs

Bessie Coleman wanted to become a pilot, but she couldn't find anyone in the U.S. who would accept an African-American female into flight school.  With the help of a friend, she researched the best place to study.  Turns out ... that best place was in France.

Saving as much money as she could, and accepting the help of close friends, she booked passage on a ship bound for Europe.  When she arrived, she learned the people who ran the aviation program (which had accepted her) had a change of mind (due to a change of circumstances).

Two female flight students had crashed their planes and died in the mishaps.  Operators of the aviation school began to think there might be some truth to the assertion that females could not fly.

Undeterred - and with her limited ability to speak and understand French - Bessie found a new flight school.  She was accepted as a student and successfully completed the program.

Bessie became a licensed pilot in 1921.

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Media Credits

Photo of Bessie Coleman, online courtesy Smithsonian Institute.


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"Bessie Coleman - First African-American Female Pilot" AwesomeStories.com. Oct 07, 2013. Jul 21, 2018.
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