BESSIE COLEMAN

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Bessie Coleman was an American civil aviator and was the first woman of African American descent to hold a pilot license. Born to a family of share croppers in Texas, she worked in the cotton fields at a young age but also studied in a small segregated school and went on to attend one term of college at Langston University. She developed an early interest in flying, but African Americans, Native Americans, and women had no flight-school opportunities in the United States, so she saved up money to go to France to become a licensed pilot. Coleman achieved her international pilot’s license in 1921. She soon became a successful air show pilot in the United States, and hoped to start a school for African-American fliers. Coleman died in a plane crash in 1926 while testing her new aircraft at the age of 34. Her pioneering role was an inspiration to early pilots and to the African-American and Native American communities. 

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