Bessie Coleman: The First African American Woman Aviator

About this sample

About this sample


Words: 588 |

Page: 1|

3 min read

Published: Mar 1, 2019

Words: 588|Page: 1|3 min read

Published: Mar 1, 2019

Bessie Coleman was the first African American woman aviator. She wowed the audience with her amazing flying skills. She was born in January 26, 1892 in a one-room cabin in Atlanta Georgia to her parents George Coleman and Susan Coleman. When she was two years, her father moved to Waxahachie Texas where he bought land and he build a three room house in which two more daughters were born. Education was very limited for her when she was in eighth grade. She was in a one-room schoolhouse which closed when the students were needed to help others pick cotton in the field.

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After completing school she worked as a laundress and she saved her money untill 1910 when she left for Oklahoma to attend Langston University. She left after one year when she ran out of money. In Waxahachie she worked as a laundress until 1915 when she moved to Chicago, Illinois to live with her older brother. In a couple of months she became a manicurist and, she continued to seek until 1920 when where found herself a goal which is to become a pilot. She made friends with several leaders in the South Side Chicago’s African American community and she found a sponsor-Robert Abbott who was an African American lawyer and a newspaper publisher and also founded The Chicago Defender. There were no African American aviators around there and where there was no white pilot to teacher she turned to Abbot who suggested that she should to France. He said that the French were not racist and they were leaders in aviation.

Later on Coleman went to France where she completed flight training at the best school in France and was awarded Fédération Aéronautique International (F.A.I.; international pilot’s license) license on June 15, 1921. She traveled to Europe, gaining more flying experience so that she could perform air shows. In 1923 Coleman bought a small plane but she crashed on her way to her first air show. The plane was destroyed and Coleman suffered injuries that she was hospitalized for three months. She returned to Chicago to recover, it took her eighteen months to find financial backers for a series of shows in Texas. Her performance was so successful, then later on she had enough money to make a down payment for a plane.

Coleman left for Orlando, Florida to benefit exhibition for the Jacksonville Negro Welfare on May I, 1926. Her pilot William D. Wills flew her into Orlando but had to make three forced stops because her plane was so worn out and poorly maintained. On April 30 1926, Wills piloted the plane on a trial fight while Coleman sat in the other cockpit to observe the area which she was to fly and parachute jump the next day. Her seatbelt was unattached because she had to lean out over the edge of the plane while picking the best sites for her program. At an altitude of one thousand feet the plane divided, then flipped over, throwing Coleman out. Moments later wills crashed. Sadly both got killed She had three memorial services in Jacksonville, Orlando and Chicago which was attended by thousands. Her body was buried at Chicago’s Lincoln Cemetery.

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Bessie Coleman is important to the history of American and me because she did something that most African American women at that time couldn’t easily do because of how they were viewed. She inspired so many African American aviators to pursue careers in aviation. She inspired so many African Americans to believe in themselves and accomplish their goals.

Works Cited

  1. Abel, E. (2012). Bessie Coleman: The Sky's No Limit. Lerner Publishing Group.
  2. Condon, M. J. (2000). Bessie Coleman: Daring Stunt Pilot. Capstone Press.
  3. Dorrell, O. (1997). Bessie Coleman: First African-American Woman Pilot. Enslow Publishers.
  4. Haskins, J., & Benson, K. L. (1994). Bessie Coleman: Pioneering Black Woman Aviator. Walker & Company.
  5. Kessler, J. (2003). Bessie Coleman: Trailblazing Pilot. PowerKids Press.
  6. Marck, J. A. (2019). Bessie Coleman: Aviator. Twenty-First Century Books.
  7. Mason, P. (2000). A Dream to Fly: Bessie Coleman. Cobblehill Books.
  8. McMullen, T. (1999). Bessie Coleman: Queen of the Sky. Dillon Press.
  9. Quinones Miller, A. (2004). Bessie Coleman: Reaching for the Stars. Sterling Publishing.
  10. Weatherford, C. B. (2006). Before Amelia: Women Pilots in the Early Days of Aviation. Candlewick Press.
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Cite this Essay

Bessie Coleman: the First African American Woman Aviator. (2019, February 27). GradesFixer. Retrieved April 14, 2024, from
“Bessie Coleman: the First African American Woman Aviator.” GradesFixer, 27 Feb. 2019,
Bessie Coleman: the First African American Woman Aviator. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 14 Apr. 2024].
Bessie Coleman: the First African American Woman Aviator [Internet]. GradesFixer. 2019 Feb 27 [cited 2024 Apr 14]. Available from:
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