Unsung Sheroes: 10 Historical Black Women Figures

Bessie Coleman

Bessie Coleman

Bessie Coleman is the first African-American female pilot and the first person of color to hold an international pilot license. Her interest in aviation began after hearing stories of World War 1 pilots, but couldn’t get into any flight schools because she was a Black woman.

However, thanks to a grant from the Chicago Defender, Coleman studied in France in July 1922 and returned to New York in September 1922 a media sensation. Coleman would often perform daredevil stunts which ultimately lead to her death in August 1923. A Chicago public library was erected in her honor in 1993.


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