On This Day 15 June
By TheBoldAge. Published 2020-06-15
In 1215 the Magna Carta was sealed by King John at Runnymede; the Canadian border was established in 1846 and the first free elections in Spain since 1936 took place in 1977. Today we'll look at Bessie Coleman who earned her pilot's license in 1921
Meet Bessie Coleman who earned her pilot's license in France in 1921
Bessie Coleman was of both African-American and Native-American (Cherokee) descent and was born in Atlanta, Texas, in 1892; she was the 10th of 13 children. She had a four mile walk to school where she proved to be an outstanding math student.
When she was 23 she moved to Chicago and it was at that time she started hearing stored about flying from pilots who were returning home from WWI. This sparked in her the desire to become a pilot and she started saving money.
At the time, however, flying schools did not accept women nor blacks; she was encouraged to study abroad. She learned French and travelled to Paris in 1920 in order to earn her license there.
On the 15th of June 1921, she earned her pilot's license from the Fédération Aéronautique Internationale and in September returned to America. With further training (again back in Europe as she was unable to find anyone in America to help) she made her first appearance in in American airshow in 1922 where she was billed as "the world's greatest woman flier".
The Daredevil Pilot
She spoke across the US about the pursuit of goals for African Americans and she would refuse to participate in any events that prohibited the attendance of African Americans.
In 1926, in Florida, the plane she was in went into a diver and spin and she was thrown from the cockpit and died at the age of 34 years old.
Read more about her and her legacy on the official site
Bessie Coleman's Biography
Other events on this day
- 1215: Magna Carta signed by King John
- 1785: first fatal aviation accident in France (balloonists)
- 1846: US and Britain signed the Oregon Treaty which established the border between Canada and the US
- 1860: Florence Nightingale opened a school for nurses at St Thomas's Hospital in London
- 1921: Bessie Coleman earned her aviator license - the first black female pilot
- 1977: first free elections in Spain since 1936
- 1940: France surrendered to Germany and troops occupy Paris