Spreading Good News (Post 551 – WOMEN’S HISTORY MONTH: Bessie Coleman, African American Aviator)

The goal of Spreading Good News is for readers to:

GET INSPIRED and/or GET MOTIVATED and/or GET INFORMED and/or GET AWE-STRUCK and/or GET A BREAK FROM ALL THE NEGATIVE NEWS and to tell readers about our good, short books and our online store.

CLICK THE “FOLLOW” LINK ABOVE TO RECEIVE AN E-MAIL ALERT FOR EACH NEW, DAILY POST!!

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CONSTANT QUOTE

 

 

IT’S BETTER TO DIE CHASING A DREAM NEVER CAUGHT THAN TO DIE NEVER HAVING CHASED THE DREAM.  ~ Joyce Fields

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EVER WONDER WHAT GOD THINKS WHEN HE LOOKS AT THE WORLD?

~ Joyce Fields

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The Candle-Lighter Award and the Sunshine Award

Thank you very much to www.living4bliss.wordpress.com for presenting me with the Candle-Lighter Award and the Sunshine Award.  I truly appreciate the recognition!

Both of these awards are for a blog or post that is positive and brings light into the world.

I started this “Good News” blog in July 2010 because I was tired of and disgusted by all the negative news and information.  I wanted to give people positive news and information.  I’m having a great time looking for, receiving, and posting these pieces!  Stay tuned!!

RULES for the Candle-Lighter Award

Whenever you see a blog or post you think brightens the world, give the blogger the Candle-Lighter Award.

Recipients can accept or decline. What does the recipient have to do?  Simply accept and nothing more!  You can paste this image on your blog, if you wish, and you are done!  If you wish to honor someone else with a Candle, pass it on, anytime and as many times and to as many people as you wish.

Come on and help me brighten up all our lives!

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TODAY’S BLOG

We all should know more about the contributions that women have made in order to make this world a better place.

In honor of “Women’s History Month,” I will be Spreading Good News with frequent posts of informative, educational, entertaining pieces about the contributions and accomplishments of women.

I hope you enjoy this piece!

WOMEN’S HISTORY MONTH:  Bessie Coleman, African American Aviator

Bessie Coleman was the world’s first African American woman aviator and the first African American to earn an international pilot’s license.  She earned her pilot’s license in 1921 in France, two years before her more famous contemporary, Amelia Earhart.

She dazzled crowds with her stunts at air shows and refused to be slowed by racism.

Early life
Bessie Coleman was born on January 26, 1892, in a one-room, dirt-floor cabin in Atlanta, Texas, to George and Susan Coleman, the illiterate children of slaves. She was the tenth child in a family of thirteen.

When Bessie was two years old, her father, a day laborer, moved his family to Waxahachie, Texas, where he bought a quarter-acre of land and built a three-room house in which two more daughters were born. In 1901 George Coleman left his family. Bessie’s mother and two older brothers went to work and Bessie was left as caretaker of her two younger sisters.

Education for Coleman was limited to eight grades in a one-room schoolhouse that closed whenever the students were needed in the fields to help their families harvest cotton. Coleman easily established her position as family leader, reading aloud to her siblings and her mother at night. She often assured her ambitious church-going mother that she intended to “amount to something.” After completing school she worked as a laundress and saved her pay until 1910 when she left for Oklahoma to attend Langston University. She left after one year when she ran out of money.

Back in Waxahachie Coleman again worked as a laundress until 1915, when she moved to Chicago, Illinois, to live with her older brother, Walter. Within months she became a manicurist and moved to a place of her own while continuing to seek—and finally, in 1920, to find—a goal for her life: to become a pilot.

Learning to fly
After befriending several leaders in South Side Chicago’s African American community, Coleman found a sponsor in Robert Abbott (1868–1940), publisher of the nation’s largest African American weekly, the Chicago Defender. There were no African American aviators in the area and, when no white pilot was willing to teach her to fly, Coleman turned to Abbott, who suggested that she go to France. The French, he insisted, were not racists and were the world’s leaders in aviation.

Coleman left for France late in 1920. There she completed flight training at the best school in France and was awarded her Fédération Aéronautique Internationale (F.A.I.; international pilot’s license) license on June 15, 1921. She traveled Europe, gaining further flying experience so that she could perform in air shows.

Her mission
Back in New York in August 1922, Coleman outlined the goals for the remainder of her life to reporters. She would be a leader, she said, in introducing aviation to her race. She would found a school for aviators of any race, and she would appear before audiences in churches, schools, and theaters to spark the interest of African Americans in the new, expanding technology of flight.

Intelligent, beautiful, and well spoken, Coleman often exaggerated her already remarkable accomplishments in the interest of better publicity and bigger audiences. As a result, the African American press of the country, primarily weekly newspapers, quickly proclaimed her “Queen Bess.”

In 1923 Coleman purchased a small plane but crashed on the way to her first scheduled West Coast air show. The plane was destroyed and Coleman suffered injuries that hospitalized her for three months. Returning to Chicago to recover, it took her another eighteen months to find financial backers for a series of shows in Texas. Her flights and theater appearances there during the summer of 1925 were highly successful, earning her enough to make a down payment on another plane. Her new fame was also bringing in steady work. At last, she wrote to one of her sisters, she was going to be able to earn enough money to open her school for fliers.

A tragic ending
Coleman left Orlando, Florida, by train to give a benefit exhibition for the Jacksonville Negro Welfare League, scheduled for May 1, 1926. Her pilot, William D. Wills, flew her plane into Orlando, but had to make three forced landings because the plane was so worn and poorly maintained. On April 30, 1926, Wills piloted the plane on a trial flight, while Coleman sat in the other cockpit to survey the area over which she was to fly and parachute jump the next day. Her seat belt was unattached because she had to lean out over the edge of the plane while picking the best sites for her program. At an altitude of 1,000 feet, the plane dived, then flipped over, throwing Coleman out. Moments later Wills crashed. Both were killed.

Coleman had three memorial services—in Jacksonville, Orlando, and Chicago, the last attended by thousands. She was buried at Chicago’s Lincoln Cemetery and gradually, over the years following her death, achieved recognition at last as a hero of early aviation.

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What are your thoughts on this piece?

 

NOTE FROM JOYCEIf you enjoyed and/or learned from this blog, please leave a comment and send the link to others.  Thanks!!

If you’re interested in reading all about “My Breast Cancer Journey,” those posts start with post #334.

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~ Joyce Fields

 

ADDITIONAL OFFERINGS FROM JOYCE FIELDS

Joyce is an author who has written seven books.  If you enjoy this blog, you will, undoubtedly, enjoy all her books.  Her sister, Anita, is also an author.

BE INSPIRED!  You can read about and order their books AND order merchandise from their online store at this link (or click the “BE INSPIRED!” button above):

https://lineofserenity.wordpress.com/get-more-inspiration/

Thanks for your interest AND support!!

Contact Joyce at goodshortbooks@yahoo.com.

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SOME OF JOYCE’S FAVORITE BLOGS

I visit these blogs and leave comments regularly.  I think you will enjoy them all!

http://www.lenasledgeblog.com  Books, reviews, give-aways, interviews.

http://living4bliss.com  Believing Life Is Set up for Success (BLISS)

http://goss-coaching.com/author/gosscoaching  A professional writer and wellness coach helping people connect thoughts, feelings, beliefs, and action to create optimal health and a vibrant life.

http://www.thebirkineffect.com  Musings of a “want it all” 21st century woman

http://www.thesweetsensations.com  A baking, entertainment, and lifestyle blog.  Fantastic recipes and food photography, too!

http://www.pennilessparenting.com  A rich life on minimum wage.  Plus fabulous, healthful recipes!

http://www.rumpydog.com  I’m a dog with a unique perspective on human life.

http://davidkanigan.com/  Lead.Learn.Live.  David Kanigan:  Inspiration, Ideas & Information.

 

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About Line of Serenity (Joyce Fields)

As a thought leader for today's generation, I choose to be part of the solution and am doing things that positively impact people's lives. In addition to being a happy, married (since 1967!) woman, sister, aunt, mother, grandmother, great grandmother, I have over 40 years' experience in "Corporate America": Stenographer, Secretary, Supervisor, Analyst, Office Manager, Executive Assistant. I am also a professional proofreader and the author of eight books (seven non-fiction; one children's fiction--http://www.GoodShortBooks.com).
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8 Responses to Spreading Good News (Post 551 – WOMEN’S HISTORY MONTH: Bessie Coleman, African American Aviator)

  1. What an amazing story. It saddens me that the stories of these wonderful women of color are readily known. In reading her story there was another reminder that we don’t have to go too far back in our geneaology to find slavery roots.

  2. Nita says:

    Such a sad story, and a very young lady! I’ve heard of Bessie Coleman, but never read her entire story. Very interesting.

  3. living4bliss says:

    What a sad story.

    Her move to France reminded me of Josephine Baker who also moved there to escape the racism in the U.S. We have a lot to learn from the French.

    She and I share a birthday, though January 26.

  4. Lord G says:

    That was AMAZING! Sad, but still wonderful!

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