Bessie Coleman was an American civil aviator and the first African American and first Native-American woman to hold a pilot’s license. She earned her pilot’s license from Federation Aeronautique Internationale on June 15, 1921 in France. She was the first black person to earn an international pilot’s license. Bessie was born January 26,1892 and died on April 30, 1926 in the state of Texas. Her parents were sharecroppers and she worked in the cotton fields at a young age while also studying in a small, segregated school. When Bessie attended college and expressed interest in flying she learned that African Americans, Native Americans and women could not receive flight training.
When her entrance to flying schools were denied due to her race, she taught herself French, saved her money and moved to France. Bessie earned her license from Caudron Brother’s School in seven months. She specialized in stunt flying and performing aerial tricks. She then became a high-profile pilot in notoriously dangerous air shows in the United States. She was popularly known as Queen Bess and Brave Bessie, and hoped to start a school for African American fliers. Coleman died in a plane crash in 1926. Her pioneering role was an inspiration to early pilots and to the African-American and Native-American women everywhere.