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Bessie Coleman


Name: Bessie Coleman


Birthday: 26 January 1892


Place of Birth:  Atlanta, USA


Died: 30 April 1926


Best Known For: Being the first black, female aviator.

The unstoppable Bessie Coleman was born in Atlanta and was the daughter of two sharecroppers. As the family did not have a lot of money, Bessie along with her 13 brothers and sisters worked as soon as they were old enough. Bessie worked as a manicurist in Chicago but at the age of 23 Bessie became extremely interested in aviation. She decided that she wanted to become a pilot! However the odds were stacked against her, as black people were not allowed to train as pilots in the United States.


Despite the fact that she was told that a black woman would never be able to fly an airplane; she did not let this stop her. Bessie discovered that she would be allowed to train as a pilot in France. She had two problems though, she didn’t have enough money to get to France and she did not speak French. These factors did not stop Bessie! She decided that she would work hard in the days to make enough money to get to France and in the night time she would teach herself French. Bessie made it to France and in 1922 Bessie became the first black woman to earn a pilot’s licence! Bessie became a successful stunt pilot and people would travel from far and wide to watch the amazing, fearless and unstoppable Bessie showcase her brilliant flying skills. 


Bessie said: “The air is the only place free from prejudice. I decided blacks should not have to experience the difficulties I had faced, so I decided to open a flying school and teach other black women to fly.”

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