Monday, March 17, 2014

Aviation Pioneers

When you think of female pilots -- you probably think of Amelia Earhart.  Ms. Earhart, however, was not the only pioneering female aviator.

Bessie Coleman was the first African American woman to learn to fly and the first American to hold an international pilot's license.  She spent her childhood in Waxahachie, Texas attending a one-room school and picking cotton.  She dreamed of "being somebody" and worked hard to make her dreams come true. After she learned to fly -- and gained considerable fame for her daring spins and loops in the sky -- she spent much of her time visiting African American schools and churches telling young people "You can do something, too. Keep trying! Fly high!"

Ruth Law was also doing loops and spins in the sky as a female pilot. Unlike Bessie, Ruth didn't have to travel to France to learn to fly.  She was trained in the United States and received her pilot's license in 1912. In 1916, Ruth flew from Chicago to New York, setting a new distance record of 590 miles in the air.  Of coarse it wasn't long until that record was broken -- by another female pilot!  But in November, 1916 -- Ruth Law was the most celebrated aviator in America.  Her flight "thrilled a nation!"

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