For the first time in American Airlines 96 year history, a flight was supported by an all-Black female cabin crew. The flight that flew from Phoenix to Dallas, also commemorated the 100th anniversary of Bessie Coleman, the first African American woman to earn a pilot’s license.

Who was Bessie Coleman?

For many Black women working within the aviation industry, Bessie Coleman is an inspiration, due to being the first African American female to be rewarded a pilot’s license in 1921.

Pursuing a career as a pilot was an exceedingly difficult task for a Black women to achieve at this time due to the rife racial prejudice towards the Black community.

Coleman was rejected by multiple American flight schools, making it impossible for her to learn how to fly in the U.S. Therefore, she was forced to travel to France to attend flight school in pursuit of achieving her dreams.

Shortly after earning a pilot’s license Coleman’s career progressed and she quickly became a ‘renowned stunt pilot’, and sadly lost her life in 1926 due to a plane crash.

Bessie Coleman pictured in front of plane
Bessie Coleman remains an inspiration to Black women in hopes of becoming pilots © biography.com

A historical moment

Amongst passengers on the flight was Bessie Coleman’s great-niece, Gigi Coleman, who has been hugely touched by her great aunt’s story and now runs an after-school program called ‘Bessie Coleman Aviation All Star’.

The scheme is targeted toward young ethnic minorities who may be interested in pursuing a career in flying. Gigi Coleman shared her thoughts with CBS news about what she believed her great aunt would make of this historical moment.

“I think she would’ve been really amazed and in awe. I was in awe, and this is 2022, my great-aunt received her license two years before Amelia Earhart, She wasn’t in the history books. No one knew about her.”

This is truly a crucial milestone for not only American Airlines yet the entire aviation industry that truly deserves to be celebrated!

Were you present on this celebratory flight? Leave a comment below.

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