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Wednesday, January 27, 2016


"I decided blacks should not have to experience the difficulties I had faced, so I decided to open a flying school and teach other black women to fly."

January 26th marks the birthdate of the first licensed black pilot, male or female, Bessie Coleman!

When pilots in this country would not teach her to fly, she went to France and got an international pilot's license on June 15, 1921.

James Banning became the first black man to get a federally issued pilot's license near the end of 1927. And since he had to build his own plane in order to get that pilot's license, he made a great head mechanic at Bessie Coleman's Aero Club.

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"After leaving college early, due to the lack of funds, Coleman moved from Texas to Chicago to pursue a career as a manicurist. However, it was her growing interest in aviation that led her to apply to aviation school, where she was denied admission several times in the states."

Determined to fly one day, Bessie went on to be admitted into a flight-training program in France. By the early 1920's, Coleman became the first Black woman to earn her pilot's license, as well as the first African American to earn an international pilot's license.

The Bessie Coleman Aero Club and the Bessie Aviators organization carried on Coleman’s legacy, which continues to inspire us all to make our dreams take flight.