MLA Biography Project: Bessie Coleman
Bessie Elizabeth Coleman was born January 28,1892 in Atlanta, Texas. Her mother wanted to move back to Texas by that time Bessie was only 2 years old. Waxahachie, a town of fewer than 4,000 people. She was the tenth out of thirteen children in her household with her two parents Susan and George Coleman. Susan and George were married for 17 years with up’s and down. George was mixed with African American and part Cherokee.
But Susan was a straight African American from the roots up. George Coleman left his family in 1901 to return to Indian Territory because of the racial barriers that existed in Waxahachie and all over Texas. Susan Coleman refused to move the kids back to Oklahoma. Bessie stayed along with four other siblings, to help with the family financial issues by picking cotton or help with the washing and ironing that her mother did for work. But her mother was determined to get her kids an education.
When Bessie graduated from high school, she enrolled in the Colored Agricultural and Normal University, which is now Langston University in Langston, Oklahoma. But with money issues she had to drop out after her first semester because all her savings had run out. But she could have stayed and work, but her mother needed help at home so Bessie gave up school just to help her mom out at home. Not long after that she moved to Chicago in 1915, where her brother was then living, and attended beauty school. She spent her early years in World War 1 working as a manicurist at the White Sox Barber Shop. She operated a small but profitable chili parlor.
Unfortunately, she got married to Claude Glenn, but she never really said it publicly since she knew he wasn’t really for her life so sooner than later they both separated in 1917. In 1918 in Chicago she had discovered airplanes was what she wanted to do and her brothers telling her stories about French women who could fly airplanes. In 1920 Bessie Coleman discovered that she wanted to be a flying pilot. She then traveled to go to the school Le Crotoy, France. Bessie had met Robert Abbot in 1920 during her work as a manicurist . He was a wealthy black man, and he helped her go to France to attend aviation school there. After she had discovered that no American school would accept an African American to teach her how to let her dream come true, so she went to France so she could show them what they missed out on.
After studying for ten months in France she was issued a license on June 15, 1921, by the Fédération Aéronautique Internationale. In France African Americans and whites were like friends to see on an everyday basis. They didn’t see them as what most of America saw them as. They saw them as people and not mistakes of God's blessing on earth. She made history of African Americans who had a dream, but couldn’t fulfill it. She had a dream and made it reality, she showed all the people that were standing in her way that they weren’t going to stop...