Bessie Coleman (1893-1926)

Exhibit Notes: Part of the NY state Amistad Commission


Bessie Coleman was nicknamed “Brave Bessie.” Since Coleman was an African American female she had to travel to France to earn her pilot’s license because no American flight instructor would teach her. Coleman became the world’s first female black pilot on June 15, 1921 when she earned her license. Coleman lectured on aviation and flew in exhibitions to raise money to open her own air school. Tragically Coleman died in a plane crash on April 30, 1926 and the school was never opened.