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Bessie Coleman

In: Business and Management

Submitted By Wilfred
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“BESSIE COLEMAN" By Mandy Walsh of St. Luke Academy, Chicago © 2007 Mandy Walsh

Bessie Coleman was the first African American woman to fly an airplane. Before Coleman's first flight, few women flew airplanes. The women who did were wealthy and Caucasian. Coleman always dreamed of flying. She took a stand against racism, segregation, and sexism to make her dream come true. Her bravery and determination showed the world that African Americans are equal, not just in the air, but in all places.

Coleman was born on January 20, 1926 in Atlanta, Texas to George and Susan Coleman. She was born into a family of thirteen children, and her father left the family when she was young. (Hart, Up in the Air, pg. 12) Coleman had to overcome both racial and sexual barriers, because she was an African American woman. (Handlemen, Philip. "Armchair Aviator". Yankee Wings, January-February 1995, pg. 20.) The community in which Coleman lived was strictly segregated. African Americans could not go to the same schools, use the same bathrooms, or entrances into buildings. (Hart, Up In The Air, pg. 12) Coleman's family never had much money. To help her family out, Coleman took on jobs such as cotton picking, laundry, and housekeeping. Coleman had dreams of breaking away from these jobs that were for "colored people" (Hart, Up In The Air, pg. 13, 18) and promised that she would "amount to something". (Rich, Doris L. "My Quest for Queen Bess". Air and Space, August-September, pg. 57) One day when Coleman was picking cotton in the fields, she saw birds flying in the sky. Coleman thought, "I wish I could fly like that." (Fisher, Brave Bessie: Flying Free, pg. 19) It was then she decided she would learn to fly. In 1912, Coleman moved to Chicago to earn money for her dream of flying. There, she lived with her brothers. She got a job at a barbershop. While at work, her...

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