In 1915, at 23 years old, Coleman moved to Chicago, where she lived with her brothers and worked as a manicurist. Not long after her move to Chicago, she began listening to and reading stories of World War I pilots, which sparked her interest in aviation.

Bessie Coleman  first African American
Bessie ColemanPhoto: A+E Networks

First Black Woman Aviator—Bessie Coleman

In 1922, a time of both gender and racial discrimination, 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 took it upon herself to learn French and move to France to achieve her goal. After only seven months, Coleman earned her license from France’s well known Caudron Brother’s School of Aviation. 

Though she wanted to start a flying school for African Americans when she returned to the U.S., 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.—biography.com

First black  woman aviator
Photo: National Air and Space Museum (Great Images in NASA Description) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
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