Bessie Coleman quarter worth-Breaking Legacy as the First African American Female Pilot


Bessie Coleman quarter worth-Breaking Legacy as the First African American Female Pilot

Bessie Coleman quarter worth


Bessie Coleman made history as the first African American woman to become a pilot and get an international pilot’s license. Coleman broke gender and racial barriers in the early 20th century. She did it through immense determination and courage. She achieved her dreams of flight. Her story inspires us. It reminds us that with passion and perseverance, we can overcome obstacles.

Overview of Bessie Coleman’s Achievements

Born in 1892 in Atlanta, Texas, Coleman developed a passion for aviation as a child. But, she faced immense racism and sexism trying to pursue flight school in the United States in the early 1900s as an African American woman. After several American aviation schools rejected her, she would not give up on her dream.

In 1920, Coleman traveled to France to enroll in esteemed flight school Ecole d’Aviation des Frères Caudron. Defying all odds, Coleman became the first female of African American and Native American descent to earn a pilot’s license on June 15, 1921. This also made her the first African American woman in the world to earn an international pilot’s license.

When Coleman returned to the United States, the media greeted her with lots of attention. They also gave her much publicity for her groundbreaking achievements. Given the nickname “Queen Bess,” she went on to have a successful career as a stunt pilot and navigator until her tragic death in 1926 at just 34 years old.

Early Life and Education

Coleman was born the tenth of thirteen children to sharecroppers George and Susan Coleman in Atlanta, Texas. She attended segregated one-room schools in the early 1900s, walking four miles each way. She completed all eight grades in her one-room school.

When Coleman was two years old, her father left the family. Her mother and siblings moved to Waxahachie, Texas when Coleman was seven to live with her aunt. Coleman helped care for her younger sisters and brothers and worked washing laundry to contribute income for the family.

At age 18, Coleman enrolled in the Oklahoma Colored Agricultural and Normal University. It is now called Langston University. She completed one term before transferring money to her brothers’ educations. She continued working many jobs throughout her early life.

Motivation to Become a Pilot


Coleman became enthralled with the idea of flying. He heard stories from pilots returning from World War I. He also read about early female aviators. She eagerly followed news coverage about aviation and flight accomplishments.

But, opportunities for flight education and pilot careers were strictly off limits to African American women in the 1920s. Racism and sexism created immense systemic barriers. Coleman knew becoming a pilot would must leaving America.

Coleman’s motivations to pursue flight included:

  • It proved the racist idea wrong. The idea was that African Americans lacked intelligence and courage for aviation.
  • Inspiring other African American women and youth to pursue their dreams
  • Gaining new perspectives and freedoms through flying
  • Achieving economic independence through an aviation career
  • Satisfying her sense of adventure and thrill-seeking

Coleman saw becoming a pilot as way to uplift her community and open doors for other minority women.

Pursuing Flight School in France

Bessie Coleman quarter worth

American flight schools repeatedly rejected Coleman based on her race and gender. She turned to training in France. She studied French diligently in Chicago.

Coleman got financial sponsorship from Robert Abbott. He owned the Chicago Defender newspaper. She also got support from her church community in Chicago. This allowed her to afford the $1500 needed to cover tuition, travel, and living expenses for flight school in France.

In November 1920 at age 27, Coleman traveled by steamship to France to enroll in respected Caudron Brothers School of Aviation. She learned quickly and worked hard against difficult odds.

On June 15, 1921, Coleman earned her pilot’s license after just 7 months of training. She became the first woman of African American and Native American descent to do so.

Career as a Stunt Pilot

When Coleman returned to the United States, the media gave her lots of attention. She also got speaking opportunities because of her remarkable accomplishment. Coleman performed flyovers and aerial shows for large crowds. She refused to join airshows with segregated audiences. She insisted on desegregating the audiences for her shows.

Coleman tragically died at age 34 in plane accident during a rehearsal for an airshow in Jacksonville, Florida on April 30, 1926. She remains in our memory as a trailblazing aviation pioneer and advocate for equality.

Historical Significance and Legacy

Bessie Coleman made history through her achievements as the first African American woman pilot:

  • Broke gender barriers for women in aviation at a time when very few women flew.
  • The obstacles were racial. They shattered and the policies were discriminatory. They excluded African Americans from American flight schools.
  • Became first African American to earn an international pilot’s license.
  • Paved the way for future generations of minority female aviators.
  • Inspired and gave hope to African American communities through her perseverance and success.
  • Stood up against segregation and inequality through her air shows and speeches.
  • Demonstrated that with passion and dedication, we can overcome even the highest obstacles.
  • Became an icon of resilience, courage, and belief in one’s self.

Coleman’s story is that of a groundbreaking aviator. It shows the power of rejecting limits others place on us and seeking our highest goals. She opened doors for untold numbers of women and people of color to achieve their own flight dreams.

Coleman’s Enduring Impact

Though her career was tragically short, Coleman’s legacy lives on through:

  • Aviators Clubs formed across America to support African Americans in aviation careers. They supported those pursuing aviation.
  • Bessie Coleman Scholarships established to help minority students afford flight school.
  • Streets, schools, and landmarks named in her honor across the country.
  • Her history as a barrier-breaker shared widely to inspire new generations.
  • Annual fly-overs and commemorations held on her birthday and day she earned her license.
  • Continued improvements in aviation diversity through opportunities she helped create.

Coleman showed the world that when we dream big and persevere, we can soar higher than anyone thought possible.

Key Lessons from Coleman’s Life

Bessie Coleman’s journey offers inspirational lessons:

  • Challenge stereotypes and misconceptions about your abilities.
  • Do not let others’ prejudice or discrimination keep you from pursuing your dreams.
  • Embrace trailblazing – if no path exists, have courage to create your own.
  • Seek out opportunities to learn and improve yourself. Never stop learning.
  • Focus on achieving your goals instead of letting obstacles discourage you.
  • Use your talents and success to uplift others and open doors for those behind you.
  • Stand up for equality and inclusion at every opportunity.
  • Stay resilient in the face of barriers and keep faith in yourself even when others don’t.
  • Let no one limit your horizons – you are capable of remarkable achievements.

Coleman’s story empowers us all to soar past society’s limits. It helps us achieve our top goals.


Bessie Coleman was an African American woman in the 1920s. She faced huge obstacles. But, she refused to abandon her dream of flight. Coleman broke gender and racial barriers in aviation. She did it through immense courage and resilience. She became the first African American female pilot. Her achievement opened the sky to others. It showed the power of persevering against all odds to create new possibilities. Coleman’s legacy as a trailblazer continues to inspire generations and exemplify the heights we can reach when we let no one clip our wings.

FAQs About Bessie Coleman

Q: Where did Bessie Coleman learn to fly?

Coleman learned to fly at the Caudron Brothers School of Aviation in France. American flight schools denied her entry due to her race and gender.

Q: How old was Coleman when she died?

A: Tragically, Coleman died at the very young age of 34 in an plane accident during a rehearsal for an air show.

Q: What obstacles did Coleman face as an African American female pilot?

Coleman had to overcome huge barriers. These included racism, sexism, segregation, lack of opportunity, and discrimination. She faced them in pursuing aviation.

Q: How did Coleman fund her flight school in France?

Coleman got sponsorships from her Chicago church and the Chicago Defender newspaper. They paid her tuition and travel.

Q: How long was Coleman’s career as a stunt pilot?

A: Due to her untimely death at 34, Coleman’s career as a professional stunt pilot only lasted about 5 years from 1921-1926.

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