First Black pilot honored by an all-Black female crew last week. Everyone from the gate attendants and ramp, to the pilots and onboard crew were all Black and all female on the flight from Phoenix to Dallas.

The American Airlines flight celebrated the 100th anniversary of Bessie Coleman. The first Black pilot was honored by a crew recently. Bessie Coleman was the first Black woman to earn the ability to fly in 1922. That American citizen didn’t have permission to learn to fly in the U.S. at the time. Undeterred, she went to France.

Today, the crew of Black women stand smiling for photos, proud to be part of the celebration. The struggle is still real. With only 150 Black female pilots on record today, but things have changed between the times. Two Black women pilots behind the helm? Clearly impossible in the U.S. a century ago.

The legacy:

Coleman became a famous stunt pilot, and while she passed on, her great-niece was there for the celebration. Gigi Coleman said of the celebration: “I think she would’ve been really amazed and in awe. I was in awe, and this is 2022,” Gigi continues her great-aunt’s legacy through the program, Bessie Coleman Aviation All-Stars, encouraging kids to learn to fly.

Tshepang Ralehoko

The history:

“My great-aunt received her license two years before Amelia Earhart,” she said. “She wasn’t in the history books. No one knew about her,” reminded the crowd.

Representation Matters:

One of the Black female pilots, Beth Powell added, “Representation is so important today, because when you see someone in yourself, you know it’s possible.”

The memory of Bessie Coleman:

The memory of Bessie Coleman, along with the American Airlines flight crew remind us that reaching our dreams is absolutely achievable, regardless of the obstacles we face.