A couple of days ago, Google honored pilot Bessie Coleman with her own #GoogleDoodle on the homepage throughout the day. Bessie Coleman was a woman who died young — at age 34 in 1926. This was after making her name known in her area of work. That work? She was a pilot.
Of course, pilots use Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math throughout their day to day lives in their career. And that’s why we’ve decided to do some research and briefly mention some of the things she accomplished in her career.
FIRST WOMAN PILOT OF AFRICAN AMERICAN AND NATIVE AMERICAN DESCENT
According to her biography, written by author Thelma Rudd ( which you can find online here ), it was more dangerous to grow up with Native American blood than it was to be ‘colored’ where Coleman grew up. She grew up in Atlanta, Texas in 1893. She was one of thirteen children.
What became her inspiration for flying? It was her brothers. But it wasn’t because they encouraged her — no, rather they somewhat taunted her. Coleman came up with the idea to fly after seeing WWI pilots making headlines, but her brothers weren’t convinced she could do it. They taunted her saying that she could never fly, not like the women they had seen in France during their time in the war. In response, Coleman had applied to several flight schools, but the American schools would not take her.
However — France did. In 1920 she moved to France to secure her license.
FIRST PILOT OF THAT DESCENT TO EARN AN INTERNATIONAL LICENSE
As a result of being turned down in America and having to take her flight schooling in Paris, she also became the first person of African American and Native American decent to earn an international license. This happened when she graduated in 1921. Of course, because of this feat, she became a buzz in news media — even in the United States.
WAS ‘QUEEN B’ BEFORE BEYONCÉ WAS
Yup. Before the R&B and Pop-Queen took over the nickname, Bessie Coleman took a similar nickname. Her nickname was technically ‘Queen Bess’ because of her stunt performances. She made a living by performing what she could do in an aircraft for people, and was well received by all people, making several newspaper headlines throughout the United States.