The Bessie Coleman Flying the Blues Blog takes a look at the life of pioneering aviatrix Bessie Coleman. She was admired for her death defying skills as an airshow barnstormer. Because of her race, Bessie had to go to France to receive flight training where she earn an international pilots license. Coleman died in 1926 in a plane crash in Jacksonville, FL on April 30th. Coleman's dream of opening a school inspired her followers to form the schools that trained the Tuskegee Airmen.
My name is Opio Sokoni, I was born and raised here
in Jacksonville, Florida.
thank you to Mayor Alvin Brown who signed this resolution and to all of the
members of this body. A special thank you to Councilman president Gulliford and
a particular thank you to Councilman Jones. I would be remiss if I did not mention
Councilman Gaffney who is my council member.
Coleman represents an incredible time in U.S. history. Women were gaining their
right to vote. World War I was over and the economy was roaring. Blues, Jazz,
and swing dances like the Lindy Hop, the Black Bottom and the Charleston were
shared by the entire country. The Harlem Renaissance was at full steam along
with the Marcus Garvey movement. Jacksonville, Florida was the winter capital
of a booming film industry during that time. Bessie Coleman’s presence here in
1926 added to the incredible excitement that was going on in this city. She was
a flying sensation that was written about and adored all across the country.
death here in Jacksonville sent ripples throughout the new aviation world and
deep into the African American community.
impact of Bessie's death, however, caused admirers to fulfill her dreams of
opening flight schools in the United States. One of those Bessie Coleman flight
schools trained the World War II hero pilots called the Tuskegee Airmen. So
many have forgotten about Brave Bessie. She died here. We do well in honoring
her. Let’s agree to do more. The way Chicago and Texas has. The way Frankfurt
Germany has in remembering Queen Bess. Something to show the beauty and bravery
she exuded as an aviation pioneer. Something to show that we remember her. What
a wonderful story for this city. What a wonderful story this is for Jacksonville,