Not Just for Black History Month
January 31, 2011
Bessie Coleman was the first black woman ever to fly an airplane and the first African American to earn an international pilot's license. She accomplished this in spite of prejudice against her race and gender. Bessie wanted to learn to fly, but since she could not gain admission to American flight schools because she was black and a woman, she traveled abroad to France to learn her skills as a pilot. On June 15, 1921, Bessie became not only the first African-American woman to earn an international aviation license from the Fédération Aéronautique Internationale, but the first African American woman in the world to earn an aviation pilot's license. Bessie dazzled crowds with her stunts at air shows, and was a skilled and daring pilot. If you would like to learn more about Bessie Coleman’s inspiring life, check out these titles from Mid-Continent Public Library.
The following suggestions are children’s books but young adults and adults will enjoy them as well.
Up in the Air: The Story of Bessie Coleman by Philip S. Hart
Fly High!: The Story of Bessie Coleman by Louise Bordan
Bessie Coleman: First Black Woman Pilot by Connie Plantz
Brave Bessie: Flying Free by Lillian M. Fisher,
Also on DVD:
Flyers: in Search of a Dream: A documentary that profiles some of America's pioneering black pilots who helped shape modern aviation. Includes stories about Bessie Coleman, William J. Powell, Sr., Herbert Julian, and James Herman Banning.