February 3, 2012 @ 3:57 pm
I have not yet seen George Lucas dogfight fantasy Red Tails and am in no great hurry as any buzz I have heard is now flatlining. One of the grumbles was Where’s The Women? Certainly there was some female presence at the Tuskegee airfield somewhere.
CNN asked the same question and came up with Mary Hemmon Carter. But I presume her character didn’t even warrant a cameo in Red Tails as Halle Berry?? Or at least digitally??
Searching for African American Women pilots, I found a plea to college bound young women from the marines searching for a few good women with the need for speed.
But all this led me to Bessie Coleman, the first African American woman to earn a international pilot’s license.
A Texan born in 1892. Her father left her mother with their five children and relocated to Indian Territory in Oklahoma. Bessie’s mom didn’t want to go, remained in Texas and picked cotton. Bessie did well in school and once of age, relocated to Chicago where two of her older brothers lived. Their stories of French female pilots in WWI inspired her to apply into this brand new field, but naturally all the aviation schools turned her down. So peep: she studied French and got her license and training in France. She returned to the states in 1921, was promptly hailed by the black press as the First African American Female pilot, and genuinely igorned by white, rather, mainstream media. Whatever. She returned to France for more specialized flight training. Once licensed and back living in the states, she performed in air stunt shows.
She died in 1926 in a freak plane crash, with her being thrown from a plane piloted by her mechanic who lost control and crashed. He was reaching for an errant wrench wedged in the planes gearbox.
Regarding the Marines plea: I wonder if they’re in touch with Kimberly Anyadike? She received a Guinness World Record before getting her high school diploma. Both her and her sister are living Anyadike’s quote to Guinness: “The sky is no longer the limit.”