Bessie Coleman

American Female Aviator

(1892 – 1926)

Bessie Coleman was not only a female aviator in a time when it was not a popular notion but she was the first Black woman to earn a pilot’s license. Bessie was born on the 26th of January 1892, in Atlanta, Texas. She was one of 13 children. Her father left when she was a child and her mother did her best to support her family on her own. Once the children were old enough, they started to help their mother by contributing to expenses.

Bessie started attending the Missionary Baptist Church in Texas when she was 12 years old. After school she started attending the Oklahoma Colored Agricultural and Normal University but was only able to complete one term due to financial difficulties.

At 23 years old, in 1915, Bessie moved to Chicago to live with her brothers and worked as a manicurist. It was there that she started listening to stories about pilots in World War I and she became interested in being a pilot.

She tried to get her pilot’s license in the United States but was denied entry due to her race. She found out that in France, they were more lenient. Bessie then taught herself French and moved to France to attend the well-known Caudron Brother’s School of Aviation where she earned her license in only seven months.

By the time 1921 rolled around in a time of both gender and racial discrimination, Bessie broke all those constraints and became the first Black woman to earn a pilot’s license.

She returned to the U.S. and wowed the audiences with her daring aerial tricks and stunt flying. However, on the 30th of April 1926, Bessie Coleman tragically passed away as a passenger when there was an accident while doing a test flight and she plummeted to her death. It was truly a sad day.

The air is the only place free from prejudice.

Bessie Coleman

Bessie never gave up. When people told her, she couldn’t achieve her goals, she found a different path to take in order to achieve them. She pushed and pushed and didn’t accept what other people said her future would look like. Due to her perseverance, she was successful in her endeavour of getting her pilot license. No one could hold her back.

I refused to take no for an answer.

Bessie Coleman

Let Bessie’s story be a lesson to you when people tell you that you can’t reach your goal. If God is for it, then who can be against it? Push on. Persevere. Never give up!

If I can create the minimum of my plans and desires, there shall be no regrets.

Bessie Coleman

I will be doing a post every now and then about a woman in history that made an impact by standing for what she believed in, never giving up and being the woman that God created her to be. I know this is about woman, but the message would be the same for men. Never give up on your dreams. They are put into your heart for a reason.

That’s it from me for now…

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One thought on “Bessie Coleman

  1. Pingback: Rosa Parks | Ondeane Lourens

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