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Google Doodle celebrates the birthday of Bessie Coleman

HONOUR: Google Doodle celebrates the 125th birthday of Bessie Coleman

TODAY, GOOGLE celebrates the 125th birthday of Bessie Coleman – the first Black American female aviator.

Coleman, who grew up in Texas, read about the flight of the Wright brothers and the first female American pilot, Harriet Quimby, during her childhood, and began to dream about flying a plane herself. From there, she saved up money and overcame racial and societal barriers to achieve her dream.

After excelling academically at a segregated, one-room Texan school Coleman would walk four miles to reach each morning—all the while helping her sharecropping parents harvest cotton—the would-be pilot moved to Chicago and worked two jobs in order to earn enough to enroll in aviation school.

But despite five years of of saving, she was barred from entering U.S. aviation schools on account of being black and a woman. Undeterred she traveled to Paris where she earned her wings in just one year. She would later return to Europe to train as a stunt pilot when U.S. schools again refused her admission.

As a barnstorming airshow performer “Queen Bessie” wowed American audiences with daring, complex stunts before an equipment failure led to her death at 34.

Coleman had dreamed of opening an aviation school for pilots of color before her life was cut tragically short. Instead, her indomitable spirit inspired generations: "Because of Bessie Coleman, we have overcome that which was worse than racial barriers. We have overcome the barriers within ourselves and dared to dream,” wrote pioneer aviator and civil writes activist Lieutenant William J. Powell.

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