As the first African American female pilot, there is little doubt that Bessie Coleman accomplished something extraordinary. At the same time, it is important to understand that she accomplished a great deal during her life. In other words, it is imperative to appreciate the life and career of Bessie Coleman on a level that goes beyond the basics.
1. She Was Encouraged To Fly By Her Brothers
Bessie Coleman came from a large family. Both of her brothers served in World War I in France. Bessie believed that she was destined for something great. It was simply a matter of finding that thing. One of her brothers mentioned that there was one thing the French women could do that she would never be able to do, and that was fly. Bessie Coleman decided then and there to become the first black woman to be a pilot.
2. She Had To Go To France
Unfortunately, Bessie Coleman found it impossible to find the training she needed to be a pilot in the United States. In order to get the training she required, she would have to make her way to France.
3. She Used Her Press Attention To Keep Going
After leaving for France and then returning to the United States, Coleman found that she was receiving a great deal of public attention. She used this attention to generate continued interested in her development as a pilot. After she completed an additional round of training, Coleman decided to begin performing throughout the United States.
4. She Performed All Over The Country
Over the course of the rest of her life, Bessie Coleman became an inspirational figure to people all throughout the United States, particularly young black girls. She also used her fame to deliver lectures in theaters throughout the country. Although she occasionally encountered hardships in the form of crashes and similar accidents, she refused to give up. Her dream was to one day have the opportunity to open up an aviation school.
5. She Stood Against Segregation
Bessie Coleman refused to be silent. As she became more and more famous for her extraordinary flying shows, she used the fame she acquired to speak out in her own way against things like segregation. Still a common practice at this point in time, Coleman routinely refused to perform shows for segregated audiences. She insisted that everyone come through the same gates and be seated together. Her legacy is one of courage, strength, and unshakable integrity.