I’ve been doing research on black female aviators in the US at mid-century, and so have ended up reading a bit lately about the amazing life of Bessie Coleman.
Coleman actually lived pretty early for my purposes, having died in 1926. But she was the first black American woman to get her aviator’s license, and the first Black American of any gender to hold an international aviator’s license.
She had to go to France to learn to fly, and continued on to take advanced stunt-flying lessons in Germany and the Netherlands. She then came back to the US to make her living as a barnstormer.
She was offered a role in a Hollywood film, which would have done wonders for her publicity, but turned it down when she found out it was a racist caricature. When she died in 1926 in a flying accident, she was raising money to found a school for young Black aviators.
What an BAMF.
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- emmadelosnardos said: fascinating! thanks for sharing.
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