image of Bessie Coleman

Bessie Coleman was born in 1892, in Atlanta, Texas. In 1921, a time of both gender and racial discrimination, Bessie Coleman broke barriers and became the world's first Black woman to earn a pilot's license. Because flying schools in the United States denied her entry, she moved to France to achieve her goal. Bessie Coleman specialized in stunt flying and parachuting and earned a living barnstorming and performing aerial tricks. In 1922, she became the first African American woman in America to make a public flight. She toured the country giving flight lessons, performing in-flight shows, and she encouraged African Americans and women to learn how to fly. Bessie Coleman said that “the air is the only place free from prejudice.”