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Introducing: Bessie Coleman

Happy Black History Month Everyone! This month, I plan to post one or two blogs a week of powerful Black people in the state of Texas. Some will be well known and others will be people that you might not have known about. Either way, by the end of this month, everyone will know a little bit more about Black history and it’s impact and importance.

To start off, we’ll be learning about Bessie Coleman. Bessie Coleman was the first African American woman to be a pilot. Bessie attended the Caudron Brothers’ School of Aviation in France during 1921 and it is there that she received her pilot’s license on June 15th, 1921.

In 1922, she performed the first public flight ever performed by an African American woman. She quickly became very popular in the United States and Europe due to the impressive tricks she performed in the air. She began to tour the country, and while doing so, she began to give flight lessons, performed in several flight shows, and most importantly encouraged African American women to become pilots.

Around 1925, she returned to Texas to perform for large crowds. Because Texas was still segregated at the time, Bessie refused to perform unless everyone could use the same entrance to her shows. The manager agreed, and Bessie became known for standing up for her beliefs in a place where you could not do so.

On April 30, 1926, Bessie was killed in a tragic plane crash. Her legacy still lives on to this day with groups like the Bessie Coleman Aviators Club, which was formed in 1977.

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