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American Airlines had a route from Dallas to Atlanta and they wanted to celebrate the trailblazer Bessie Coleman

An all-Black flight crew escorted an American Airlines plane to Phoenix in honor of Bessie Coleman, the first Black woman to earn a pilot’s license in 1921.

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In celebration of Bessie Coleman, the first Black woman to obtain a pilot’s license in 1921, an American Airlines aircraft from Dallas to Phoenix was operated by an all-Black female crew.

To commemorate the 100th anniversary of Coleman’s 1922 performance of the first-ever public flight by an African American woman, the airline held the Bessie Coleman Aviation All-Stars tour this week.

American Airlines said in a statement that she “bravely broke down barriers within the field of aviation and paved the route for many to follow.”

According to the airline, the flight’s all-Black female crew of pilots, flight attendants, customer service coordinators, cargo team members, and the aviation maintenance technician hosted Coleman’s great-niece, Gigi Coleman.

In the American Airlines video “Empowering Women in the Skies,” Gigi said, “I’m grateful for American Airlines to provide us this opportunity to promote my great aunt’s accomplishments in the field of aviation.”

By 1918, very few American women of any color held a pilot’s license, but those who did were frequently wealthy White women. Unfazed, Coleman moved to Paris, picked up French, and applied to the Caudron Brothers School of Aviation. Coleman became the first woman of African American and Native American origin to fly in 1921.

Coleman passed away in 1926 at the age of 34 while practicing with another pilot. Coleman’s influence on aviation history endures even though she was never able to realize her aim of founding a flying school for aspiring Black pilots, according to a previous CNN report.

According to American Airlines, there has been a “notable underrepresentation of black women in the aviation profession, particularly as pilots, with less than 1% in the commercial airline industry.”

The flight’s pilot, Captain Beth Powell, stated in the video, “Today, I’m beyond thrilled to be a part of the crew where we are motivating young girls, young girls of color, to see the varied responsibilities that these women play in every element to make this flight possible.”

American Airlines stated that as part of its commitment to diversifying the flight deck, it uses its cadet program to “raise awareness of and increase accessibility to the pilot career within various communities.”

In order to introduce young people to careers in aviation, representatives from the Bessie Coleman Foundation and American Airlines pilots and cadets visited with students at the Academies at South Mountain in Phoenix the day following the historic flight.

Mohamed Mohamed, an aspiring airline pilot who studies aerospace at the academy, said in the video, “I knew she was the first African American woman to get her pilot’s license, she was the first to do it so she inspired the next generation to follow her footsteps and know that they can also be what they want to be.”

This report was provided to by Karla Pequenino of CNN.

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