All-Black, Female American Airlines Crew Makes History While Honoring Bessie Coleman

Black women continue to reach new heights — literally.

A recent American Airlines flight from Phoenix to Dallas employed an all-Black, female crew to celebrate the 100th anniversary of Bessie Coleman, who was the first African American woman to become a pilot. This is the first time in the company’s 96-year existence that we were represented from the gate, to the cockpit, and cabin, CBS News reports. 

Gigi Coleman, the historic pilot’s great niece, was aboard the groundbreaking flight.”I think she would’ve been really amazed and in awe. I was in awe, and this is 2022,” said Gigi Coleman. She also oversees Bessie Coleman Aviation All-Stars, a Chicago-based afterschool program designed to encourage youth, particularly of color, to pursue their dreams of flying.

“My great-aunt received her license two years before Amelia Earhart,” Gigi Coleman said, according to CBS. “She wasn’t in the history books. No one knew about her.”

There are fewer than 150 Black women airline pilots in the U.S., according to Sisters of the Skies, an organization of Black women airline pilots. American Airlines 737 Captain Beth Powell is one of them. 

“I’ve never had an all-Black female flight crew in my entire career,” Powell said. “Representation is so important today, because when you see someone in yourself, you know it’s possible. ‘I can do this, too.’”

In 1921, at 29 years old, Coleman became the first African American and first Native American woman to earn an aviation pilot’s license. She also was the first African American person to earn an international pilot’s license from the Fédération Aéronautique Internationale in France. In 1922, she performed the first public flight by an African American woman, instantly becoming a media sensation. She went on to perform tricks and give flight lessons in the U.S. and Europe. 

Source: Read Full Article