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African American History Forum

Bessie Coleman

Bessie Coleman – pilot. Coleman became the first black woman to earn a pilot’s license and first American of any race or gender to earn an international pilot license. She could not gain admission to American flight schools because she was black and a woman. No black U.S. aviator would train her either. So Coleman studied for and received her licenses in France in 1921. In order to support herself as a professional pilot, she became an exhibition flyer, where she was dubbed “Queen Bess”. In 1989, First Flight Society inducted Coleman into their shrine that honors those individuals and groups that have achieved significant “firsts” in aviation’s development.

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Bessie Coleman

18 Dec 2002 :: 14 Nov 2008
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