American Airlines recently paid homage to the100-year legacy of Bessie Coleman with an All-Black female crew.

Black Women Spreading Their Wings

American Airlines recently commemorated the 100th anniversary of Bessie Coleman earning her pilot license with an All-Black female crew from Dallas-Fort Worth to Phoenix. The crew was nick-named the Bessie Coleman Aviation All-Stars, and included pilots, aviation technicians, attendants, and other service members. Gigi Coleman, who is Bessie Coleman’s great niece was also hosted as an honorary passenger on board, which made the experience a full-circle moment.

 

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Bessie Coleman, The Trailblazer

On June 15, 1921, Bessie Coleman earned her aviator’s license from Federation Aeronautique Internationale after being in training for merely seven months. Leading up to that point, Coleman attended the prestigious Caudron Brothers’ School of Aviation in Le Crotoy, France. Because she had a lot of challenges getting enrolled in aviation schools in the U.S., she expanded her horizon and instead learned to fly airplanes in France. She would later go on to become the first Black woman in the world to get an aviator’s license. She has since become a global trailblazer and an icon. In a statement on its website, the company noted that Black women are still  “notably underrepresented” in the aviation industry, with Black female pilots being represented at a rate of less than 1% in the commercial airline industry. The airline also noted that it intended to increase its effort in pushing for diversity and inclusion in the aviation sector. Watch the video that the airline released in honor of Coleman.

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