Bessie Coleman's Life

Timeline created by 0127kylander
  • Bessie Coleman was Born in Atlanta, Texas

    Bessie Coleman was Born in Atlanta, Texas
    Bessie was born to George and Susan Coleman as the tenth of thirteen children.
  • Bessie Walked 4 Miles to her 1 Room School

    Bessie Walked 4 Miles to her 1 Room School
    She attended the same all black school with her brothers and sisters. Students from grades one through eight were taught by one teacher.
  • Her Father George Left Her Family

    Her Father George Left Her Family
    Bessie's world fell apart when her father decided to return to the Indian reservation in Oklahoma where he was raised, and her mother decided not to go.
  • She Finished all 8 Grades

    She Finished all 8 Grades
    Bessie learned to read and write, but wanted to go to college. While working in the cotton fields, she also worked as a bookeeper for the other field workers.
  • She Took Her Ironing Money and went to a College in Oklahoma

    She Took Her Ironing Money and went to a College in Oklahoma
    In 1910 Bessie took her savings and left home to enroll at the Colored Agricultural and Normal University in Lanston, Oklahoma. She had to drop out after completing just one term because she ran out of money.
  • She Began Beautician Courses And Got a Job at The White Sox Barber

    She Began Beautician Courses And Got a Job at The White Sox Barber
    Bessie left Texas because the job opportunities that were there were woking in the cotton fields or a laundress. In Chicago most black women were factory workers or cleaned. Bessie took beautician courses and got a job as a manicurist.
  • Bessie Married a Man by the Name of Claude Glenn

    Bessie Married a Man by the Name of Claude Glenn
    Claude was a friend of Bessie's brother Walter. He was fourteen years older than Bessie, and their marrige was a friendship rather than true love. They kept separate apartments then he went off to war in Germany.
  • She Sailed to France to Enroll in a Flight School

    She Sailed to France to Enroll in a Flight School
    When her brother returned from the war he told Bessie French women had careers and some even flew airplanes. She then decided she too wanted to be a pilot, but since she couldn't find a school that would train a black female she decided to go to France.
  • She Enrolled in a Seven Month School

    She Enrolled in a Seven Month School
    The first school Bessie applied to refussed her admission because of some recent accidents with women. The second schhool accepted her and altough she didn't hardly speak French she finished the course.
  • Bessie Graduated from Flight School

    Bessie Graduated from Flight School
    When Bessie passed the test she was the first African American in the world qualified to fly.
  • She Moved Back to America and Reporters Began Calling her "Queen Bess"

    She Moved Back to America and Reporters Began Calling her
    Even with all the celebration when Bessie returned to America, she knew it was going to be difficult for her to make a living as an aviator.
  • She Sailed Back to France to Study to be a Barnstormer

    She Sailed Back to France to Study to be a Barnstormer
    Because her race and sex prevented her from buying a plane, jobs were limited to her as a pilot. She decided an airshow pilot was the way to go, but she needed more training.
  • She was Scheduled for Her First Air Show

    She was Scheduled for Her First Air Show
    Bessie's friend Robert Abbott asked his staff at the Chicago Defender to arrange an airshow for Bessie. They called her "the world's greatest woman flyer."
  • She was Rained Out the First Time and Now She Was Scheduled for a Different Date

    She was Rained Out  the First Time and Now She Was Scheduled for a Different Date
    Her first show was rained out and was rescheduled for September 3rd. When Bessie finally got to fly she made the first public flight of a black women in America.
  • Bessie's Plane Crashes During an Exhibition near Los Angeles

    Bessie's Plane Crashes During an Exhibition near Los Angeles
    Moments after Bessie took off in a new plane, her motor stalled. When workers arrived at the crash they found her plane was demolished and Bessie had a broken leg, three broken ribs, internal injuried and cuts on her face.
  • First Airshow in Columbus, Ohio After Her Injuries

    First Airshow in Columbus, Ohio After Her Injuries
    It took three months before Bessie recovered. She worked hard to build her barnstorming career back up, so she borrowed a plane and flew in an airshow. Ten thousand people came to watch.
  • She Guest Spoke at Every African American School in Jacksonville, FL

    She Guest Spoke at Every African American School in Jacksonville, FL
    Many times when Bessie was on tour she would speak in churches, schools and theaters trying to raise money for her flying school. Many people supported her because she used her influence to try and end racial discrimination.
  • She Fell Out of a Plane and Died

    She Fell Out of a Plane and Died
    On the day before a performance Bessie went up with another pilot so she could get a better look at the course. He lost control of the plane and without her seatbelt she fell out and broke every bone in her body and died.
  • Bessie was Buried in Lincoln Cemetary After 3 Funerals

    Bessie was Buried in Lincoln Cemetary After 3 Funerals
    As the first black female aviator so many people wanted to say goodbye. She was given three funerals services in Jacksonville, Orlando and Chicago. Ten thousand people tried to attend her funeral.
  • The USPS Issued a Commemorative Stamp in Bessie's Honor

    The USPS Issued a Commemorative Stamp in Bessie's Honor
    This national distinction was a tribute to Bessie who proved that grand dreams can become reality.