Nearly 100 years ago, an ambitious African American woman from Chicago headed to France to become a pilot. She ended up being a trailblazer for her race and gender
You’ve heard of the Wright brothers, who were first to succeed in powered flight. You’ve heard of Louis Blériot, the first person to successfully fly the English Channel. You’ll also have heard the countless stories of the brave men who defied gravity in their aircraft time after time.
And yet, nestled within these heroic and awe-inspiring stories lies another, long-overlooked individual who faced up to the social constraints of the time and shattered them with an unwavering drive to succeed. It is the story of the first woman to receive a piloting license. The story of the first black person – male or female – to obtain an international piloting license.
This woman was Elizabeth ‘Bessie’ Coleman.