It was the 100th anniversary of Coleman officially becoming the first Black woman pilot!
An American Airlines crew of all Black women flew in honor of Bessie Coleman’s 100th anniversary, 11 Alive reports.
Bessie Coleman was raised in Waxahachie, a suburb of Dallas, Texas. In 1921, she made history as the first Black woman to receive her pilot’s license, making history again in 1922 as the first Black woman to perform a public flight. Coleman would continue to blaze a trail, breaking barriers for Black women in the aviation industry. She was lauded for her skills in the skies, earning names like “Brave Bessie.”
In honor of Coleman’s 100th history making anniversary, an all-Black woman American Airlines crew operated a flight from Coleman’s hometown of Dallas to Phoenix. Included on that flight was Gigi Coleman, the great-niece of Bessie Coleman. From the pilots and flight attendants, all the way to the aviation maintenance technician, every crew member was a Black woman.
In a recap video of the flight, Gigi spoke about the significance of the flight, saying, "I am grateful for American Airlines to give us this opportunity to highlight my great aunt's accomplishments in the field of aviation."
American Airlines said they are committed to promoting and increasing diversity in the industry, doing so through their Cadet Academy. Black women have historically been underrepresented in the industry, making up less than 1% of commercial airline pilots. In honor of this monumental event and all of the crew who showed up to participate, we want to make sure we honor them by saying their names!
Beth Powell: pilot, captain 737-3
Charlene Shortte: pilot, first officer 737-3
Cheryl Gaymon: flight attendant
Mary Roberson: flight attendant
Vanessa Bennett: flight attendant
Breana James: flight attendant
Sharron Brooks: crew chief
Nicole White: crew chief
Maya Matthews: fleet service agent
Natasha Williams: fleet service agent
Alisha Bates: fleet service agent
Patricia Milfort: MOD, customer operations
Arlene Law: customer service coordinator
Lynette Daniels Moody: customer service coordinator
Lillie Hayes: customer service coordinator
Tracy Brown: customer service agent
Muju Abdul-Qadir: IAM Control Center coordinator
Pamela Calton: TWU Aviation maintenance technician
Audrey Van Hook: TWU crew chief ramp
Crystal Tochi McDaniel: duty manager, cargo services
Sandra Butler: TWU crew chief ramp
Jessika Mejia: premium customer services rep
Veronda Butler: senior manager, premium guest services operations
Thank you all! Because of you, we can.
Photo Courtesy of 11 Alive