Read our short biography / fact sheet of Bessie Coleman, an extraordinary woman fighting to achieve her dreams of flying planes at a time when women and black people weren't allowed to do either in America.
Children can learn a little about Bessie Coleman, a remarkable and determined women born in the late 19th Century in America, and print out our biography and writing page. In her own way, she broke frontiers and changed the world. Her story is a great one to study during Black History Month.
A Short Biography of Bessie Coleman
Bessie was born in 1892 in Atlanta, Texas. She was the 10th of 13 children. Her father was mostly Cherokee (Native American) and her mother was African American. Bessie was a hard-working student and went to university, but couldn’t afford to stay.
In the mid-20s, Bessie decided that she wanted to learn to fly and become a pilot. American flight schools wouldn’t take women or black people, but she was lucky to gain financial support to study in France. She did a quick course in French and then travelled to France. When she came back to America with her pilot’s licence she was a sensation!
To support herself, Bessie took up stunt flying. She was known as Queen Bess and was a popular performer. For 5 years she dazzled crowds with her displays and tricks - loop the loops and figure eights and more!
Bessie hoped to set up her own flying school but in 1926, she and her mechanic were killed when their plane crashed in Florida. She was 34.