It’s been 100 years since Bessie Coleman became the first African-American female and woman of Native American descent to become a licensed pilot in 1921 – two years before the celebrated Amelia Earhart earned hers.
While sadly Coleman didn’t get the same type of notoriety, Coleman was a trailblazer who overcame gender and racial prejudice during a time when African Americans were battling segregation and fighting for equal rights across the country. To this day, Coleman continues to be a symbol for millions of women of color in aviation and beyond.
To honor Coleman’s legacy, American Airlines hosted the Bessie Coleman Aviation All-Stars tour to celebrate her 100th anniversary, including honorary guest, Gigi Coleman, the legend’s great niece. Gigi flew on a flight from Dallas-Fort Worth to Phoenix, which was operated by an all-black female flight crew. This historic flight consisted of pilots, flight attendants, cargo team members, and aviation maintenance technicians.