Ms. Coleman was the first Black woman pilot, and the first Black aviator to hold an international pilot's license. The 10th of 13 children born to sharecropper parents, Ms. Coleman dreamed of becoming a pilot, but no American flight school would train her. Undaunted, she studied French and traveled to Paris, where she earned her pilot's license in 1921. She later traveled to the Netherlands and Germany, training to become a "barnstorming" stunt pilot. "Queen Bess" flew for five years, performing figure-eights, loops, and near-ground dips, delighting her audiences. She was once offered a film role, which could have helped finance the flying school she hoped to open, but when she learned she'd have to wear tattered clothes and a pack on her back, she refused. She didn't want to perpetuate or participate in the stereotypes many whites held about Black people. Ms. Coleman, billed as "the greatest woman flier," died at age 34 when her new plane, which friends feared was unsafe, unexpectedly dove. She was inducted into the National Aviation Hall of Fame in 2006.
Sanguine Fromage, WERU radio personality since 2005, current host of UpFront Soul, former host of The Nightfly, Off the Wall, Enjoy Yourself, and Sound Travels.
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