Friday, April 19, 2013

The Chicago Defender vs The Florida Times Union - Reporting on Aviatrix Bessie Coleman's Death

The Florida Times Union, the major newspaper
in Jacksonville, Florida, never mentioned 
aviatrix Bessie Coleman by name in their 1926
reporting. They reported the death of her
assistant instead. The Chicago Defender,
however, reported her death as a front
page piece. The Chicago Defender was banned
from a number of southern cities as a result
 of their inspiring articles about African Americans.




Florida Times Union News photograph of airplane wreck in which African American aviatrix Bessie Coleman and William D. Wills were killed - Jacksonville, Florida



             "Bessie Coleman Flying the Blues" takes a look at the times of the roaring twenties in the United States through the life of pioneering aviatrix Bessie Coleman. She was admired by the women and men of her day in aviatrix because of her death defying skills as an airshow barnstormer. She was the first American woman to receive an international pilots license. Because of her race in the Jim Crow era, Bessie had to go to France to receive training. Her influence reached beyond race and gender. She inspired Amelia Earhart who came after Bessie. Coleman died in 1926 in a plane crash one day before an airshow she was to headline in Jacksonville, Florida. Coleman's dream of opening a school inspired her followers to form the schools that trained the Tuskegee Airmen. This book is the most thorough research done into the life and circumstances of this American female pioneer in the field of aeronautics. Bessie Coleman remains a celebrated figure during Black History Month and she is hugely popular among aeronautics enthusiasts. Finally, this ebook captures race and Bessie's connection to the hugely popular Blues and Jazz music genres. 

             Bessie Coleman was the first African American to earn a pilot's license. She taught herself French and moved to France in order to earn a license. Her international license came from France's well-known Caudron Brother's School of Aviation in just seven months. She specialized in aerial tricks, stunt flying and parachuting. This is how she made a living as a barnstormer around the United States and France. She remains a pioneer in the field of aviation.


  1. THANK YOU for this article! We know so little about the amazing legend, Bessie Coleman - any research I find is so enlightening and exciting!
    Again, thank you for the article and your blog for honoring her!