February marks the celebration of Black History month. As a sorority who believe in “Excellence Through Unity”, it is only fitting that we take the time to present some of the notable women in African-American History.
Each day this month, we will present a short biography on famous, inspiring, and world-changing African-American women throughout history.
Today, we introduce you to the first Black woman pilot – Bessie Coleman.
Bessie Coleman was the first African-American female pilot, and the 1st African American to hold an international pilot license. Coleman became inspired by stories of World War I pilots and their flights during the war. From there, she decided to pursue her dreams of flying. Bessie faced many adversities trying to attend flight school in the United States. Because of her race, Coleman was not allowed to gain admission to American flight schools. Inspired by her wish to fly, Robert Abbot – founder and publisher of the Chicago Defender, convinced her to study abroad to get her license to fly. Abbot offered his financial support, along with Coleman receiving financial help from a banker name Jessie Binga.
Coleman traveled to France, where she took up French language classes, along with enrolling in a French flight school. After learning to fly a 82 biplane, Coleman earned her international aviation license on June 15th, 1921. This license made her the first African-American woman to earn an international aviation license, as well as the first African-American woman world-wide to earn an aviation pilot’s license.