Bessie Coleman, US aviation pioneer

Bessie Coleman, US aviation pioneer

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Credit: SCHOMBURG CENTER/NEW YORK PUBLIC LIBRARY/ SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Bessie Coleman (1892-1926), US aviation pioneer, operating a radio in the Woodard Studio, Chicago, USA. Coleman, also called Queen Bess, was the first African-American woman to become an airplane pilot. Because she was a woman and black, she was unable to train in the USA. Instead, she went to Paris, France, starting her pilot training in November 1920. In September 1921, she returned to the USA. She planned to open a flight school for African-Americans, but died in a plane crash with her mechanic William Wills as they prepared for an airshow. Photograph published in Souvenir of Negro Progress: Chicago, 1779-1925 (1925).

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