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American airlines hosted this Bessie Coleman Aviation All-Stars tour to celebrate the hundredth anniversary of Coleman performing the first public flight by an African American woman in 1922. “She bravely broke down barriers within the world of aviation and paved the path for many to follow,” American Airlines said in a statement. To further honor Coleman’s legacy, American Airlines hosted Gigi Coleman, Bessie’s great-niece, on the flight from Dallas-Fort Worth to Phoenix.
Born in Texas and raised on a farm, Bessie loved school and walked four miles every day to attend a one-room all-black school through 8th grade. Working with her mother and two sisters, she did laundry, cleaned homes, and picked cotton to earn money so she could finish her education. At age eighteen, she enrolled in the Oklahoma Colored Agricultural Normal University, but she only had enough money for one year. Traveling north to Chicago to live with her brothers, she heard stories from pilots returning from World War I and decided to become a pilot. After applying to three American aviation schools that refused to teach her, this smart, naturally gifted woman didn't give up. Learning enough French to get by, she enrolled in a French school, the only black person in the class, and finished the 10-month course in eight months.
Performer: Daisy Century
Dr. Daisy Century recalls the thrill of receiving a standing ovation for her 3rd grade recitation of The Creation and credits this as the beginning of her desire to perform. Trained as a teacher, Century earned a BA in Biology at Claflin College, a master's in science education from South Carolina University and a PhD from Temple University, also in Science Education. This naturally talented teacher and actor couples scientific methods with creative imagination in order to discover how the historical characters she interprets would respond to a given situation. An inspiring educator whose students have returned year after year to thank her for the difference she has made in their lives, Daisy has continued to inspire through her thoroughly researched, dramatically intense portrayals. She is a published author, writing under the name Emily Nelson, and is an accomplished singer.
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