Bessie Coleman was the first Black woman to earn an aviation pilot’s license and an international pilot’s license in the 1920s. Because of racism, she had to go to France to get her wings training in Paris and later at the Fokker Corporation. Returning to the United States, she became a media sensation as a barnstorming stunt pilot. She became an outspoken civil rights advocate refusing to perform at venues that barred African Americans becoming an inspiration to African Americans, both men and women, who wanted to achieve their dreams to fly. Her premature death at the age of thirty-four in a plane crash in Jacksonville, Florida cut her career short but not her influence on future generations.
PRESENTER: Daisy Nelson Century is an educator, historical interpreter, actress and author. As a member of the American Historical Theatre she has performed in historic sites and museums across the Northeast portraying such famous women as Bessie Coleman, Sojourner Truth, Harriet Tubman and Phillis Wheatly. Her performances express empowerment, inspiration and transformation for women and especially young girls who face racism to never fold or quit.
The year 2020 marks the centennial of the Nineteenth Amendment and the culmination of the women’s suffrage movement guaranteeing and protecting women’s constitutional right to vote. This year’s theme for the African American Lecture Series is “The Year of the Woman – She Changed the World” and will highlight struggles and accomplishments from women in artistic, cultural, and educational advancement.
Presenters will include visual artists, educators, historians, reenactors, storytellers, singers, dramatists, and dancers.