Honoring Bessie Coleman

Bessie Coleman was the first Black woman to get her pilot’s license. On the 100th anniversary of Coleman’s first flight as a pilot in 1922, American Airlines staffed an all-Black female crew to fly from Dallas to Phoenix. This is likely the first time that a plane was staffed with pilots, flight attendants, customer service reps, cargo teams, and maintenance teams of only Black women. Upon landing in Phoenix, officials from the Bessie Coleman Foundation and American Airlines held an event for young people to learn more about careers in aviation. Gigi Coleman, the great-niece of Bessie, was a passenger on this historic flight and was thrilled to see her relative being honored in an authentic way. Though many strides have been made for Black women since Coleman’s groundbreaking flight, Black women represent less than 1% of pilots in the airline sector today.

Image via American Airlines


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