Learning Center Our Enshrinees

Bessie Coleman

  • Could not find a flight instructor willing to teach her in the United States due to prejudice, so she learned French and saved up the money to go to flight school in France.
  • On June 15, 1921, she was the first woman of African-American descent, and also the first of Native-American descent, to hold a pilot license.
  • Toured the country barnstorming and giving lectures to raise money for an African-American flying school.
  • Only performed if the crowds were desegregated and entered through the same gates.
  • Following her death, William J. Powell established the Bessie Coleman Aero Club in Los Angeles in 1929. As a result of being affiliated, educated or inspired directly or indirectly by the aero club, flyers like the Five Blackbirds, the Flying Hobos, The Tuskeegee Airmen and others continued to make Bessie’s dream a reality.

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