When we think of sports, we usually think of games such as basketball, football, soccer, tennis, or track. We don’t usually think of cheer, dancing, and definitely not flying as a sport. The Oxford dictionary defines sport as an activity involving physical exertion and skill in which an individual or team competes against another or others for entertainment. By definition, Bessie Coleman participated in a “sport” when she flew her planes.
Bessie Coleman was born on January 26, 1892 in Atlanta, Texas. She was one of 13 children born to her parents who were both sharecroppers. She was the first African American woman to obtain a pilot’s license. Because African Americans nor women were able to attend piloting school in America, she flew to France to become a licensed pilot. Although her goal of opening a flying school for African-Americans was never fulfilled, she paved the way for others to “defy gravity” and break down walls built to stop us from progressing. Bessie was known as “Queen Bess” to people who came to her shows and was known for her gravity-defying and very dangerous tricks.
On April 30, 1926, Bessie died in a flying accident during a rehearsal at age 34. Bessie’s life shows us that black women can accomplish anything in life and in the sports world that we set our minds to. Bessie is still showing us today how we can break barriers and restraints that are set against us. Thank you Bessie! #BlackGirlMagic