Bessie Coleman, First African American Licensed Pilot

Source: Smithsonian

Bessie Coleman (Jan. 26, 1892–April 30, 1926) was a bravely independent and determined woman who decided that learning to fly provided an exciting challenge. However, in the early years of the 20th century she had two strikes against her: her race and her gender. Unable to secure flight training in the U.S., she went to France and earned her license. On June 15, 1921, Bessie Coleman received the first pilot’s license issued to an African American, male or female, from the Federation Aeronautique Internationale.

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