Monday, December 29, 2008

Come Fly With Me

The Prodigal Dress, by Linda Hickerson-Hofheinz; one of the many "flying" pieces of art in the office from which I write today.

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This is Bessie Coleman's Pilot's License from France. It does not, of course, indicate that she was the first African American to attain a pilot's license. (O.K., so she shaved four years off her age for the license.)

It's Blue Monday. So lets cheer ourselves up. The best way to do that is to forget about The Me and get lost in some one else's world. Let's jump into Bessie Coleman's world today. It was a tough world but she literally rose above it all to live her dream of being a pilot.

Bessie Coleman was born right here in my home state of Texas, in the little town of Atlanta. She overcame poverty and prejudice to become the first African American to earn a pilot's license. She had to secure funding, learn French, then sail off to France to take flight training, as no American flight school would enroll her. She completed the course at the Ecole d'Aviation des Freres Caudon at Le Crotoy. She then received her license on June 15, 1921 from Federation Aeronautique Internationale (FAI).

Though Bessie Coleman died young, she left a legacy and her rich life continues to inspire. Streets have been named for her; she has had a U.S. Postal stamp issued in her honor; a flying school for African Americans was established in her honor; books have been written about her; and even a Bessie Coleman doll is available.

In 2000, Bessie Coleman was inducted into the Texas Aviation Hall of Fame and in 2006 she was inducted into the National Aviation Hall of fame in Dayton, Ohio. She is a true legend.

Thanks, Bessie, my blues are history!

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