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Poster Worthy People - The Aviator

Created On: 4/16/2024

Bessie Coleman wanted to be a pilot.

But she was a girl.

Back then they didn't allow girls into pilot school.

And she was African American.  

Back then they didn't let African Americans into pilot school.

And to add to the odds stacked against her, she was born into poverty.

But Bessie Coleman became a pilot anyway.

This is what she looked like:

She was born in Texas in 1892.

Her family were sharecroppers, and she was the 10th child.

When it came time for Kindergarten, she had to walk 4 miles to a single room segregated school.

And in that room she excelled.

She kept walking those miles and by the time she was 12, she got a scholarship to a private high school. 

Then she was accepted into college.

She went to college for a semester, but soon she ran out of money.

She had to leave school and get a job as a manicurist in Chicago. 

In the salon, she heard stories of pilots fighting in World War 1.

That captured her imagination.   And she decided she was going to be a pilot.

So she got a second job to save up for flight school.

But she quickly learned that no flight school in the country would accept her.

She was not deterred. 

She learned that there was a pilot school in France that would train her.

She found some influential people and convinced them to help her raise money.   

And off she went to France to became a pilot.

Then she came back to Chicago ready to fly.

The only problem was there weren't any jobs for pilots.

Traveling by airplane wasn't even a thing yet.

The only way she could make a living as a pilot was to do stunts at airshows.

But she didn't know how to do stunts.

So she had to go all the way back to France to get more advanced training. 

She came back ready for the airshows.

And she was good at it.

She started making a name for herself and drawing big crowds.

Then disaster struck.

She was doing a new stunt where she would jump out of a plane and parachute down to the crowd.

She was on a test run when her plane's engine stalled. It went into a dive and threw her out.

She didn't survive.

But her life inspired millions.

Over 10,000 people attended her remembrance ceremony.

And someone like Bessie Coleman who beats the odds when the deck was fully stacked against her is a poster worthy person.

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