Bessie Coleman

Bessie Coleman was the first African-American woman to become a pilot. After flying schools in the US denied her admission, she taught herself French and traveling to France in 1920 to study at a French flight school. She earned her international pilot license and, after returning to the US, specialized in stunt flying. Though Coleman was tragically killed in a plane crash at the age of 33, her legacy lived on as, following her death in 1926, Bessie Coleman Aero Clubs for African-American aviators appeared across the US. For more stories of girls and women overcoming discrimination to achieve their dreams, visit our Prejudice / Discrimination section within Social Issues. For more stories about notable female pilots, visit our Planes section within Transportation.