Download This Sample
This sample is exclusively for KidsKonnect members!
To download this worksheet, click the button below to signup for free (it only takes a minute) and you'll be brought right back to this page to start the download!
Sign Me Up
Bessie Coleman was the first black woman in the world to earn a pilot’s license. She was a famous aviator and became well-known for her stunt flying and aerial tricks. This extraordinary woman was a pioneer in aviation, helping to break barriers for African Americans and women alike.
See the fact file below for more information on the Bessie Coleman or alternatively, you can download our 21-page Bessie Coleman worksheet pack to utilise within the classroom or home environment.
Key Facts & Information
- Born on January 26, 1892 in Atlanta, Texas, Bessie Coleman had 12 siblings.
- Her parents, Susan and George Coleman, were poor sharecroppers. Bessie grew up in a world of racism and discrimination.
- She was treated badly and had fewer opportunities than white children.
- When she was six years old, she started attending a one-room school housed in a wooden shack.
- When she was still a child, her father left to look for work opportunities in Oklahoma.
- After her father left, Bessie’s mother had to support the family herself. The children started contributing as soon as they were old enough. As Bessie grew up, she was forced to deal with the challenges of poverty and discrimination.
- Bessie attended a school run by the Missionary Baptist Church. After she graduated, she went to Oklahoma to attend Oklahoma Colored Agricultural and Normal University (Langston University). Due to financial difficulties, she only attended one term.
- When she was 23 in 1915, she moved to Chicago. While she was there, she worked as a manicurist and saved money. She lived with her brother.
- It was while she was in Chicago that she started reading and listening to stories of pilots from World War I. This was what piqued her interest in aviation.
- When Bessie began to pursue her dream, she was rejected by flying schools in the United States because she was black and because she was a woman.
- A man called Robert Abbott told Bessie that she should go to a flying school in France. Abbott was among the first African American millionaires.
- Robert Abbott and another African American entrepreneur contributed financially to help Bessie go to France to learn to fly.
- Bessie left the United States for France in November of 1920.
- While Bessie was learning to fly, she witnessed the death of another student in a plane crash. This was alarming and daunting, but she did not let this dissuade her from pursuing her dream.
- It was in June of 1921 that she was awarded an international pilot’s license by the Federation Aeronautique Internationale in France.
CAREER AND CONTRIBUTIONS
- Bessie Coleman returned to the United States from France in September, 1921.
- She had become well-known, and many reporters came out to meet her when she arrived. She was now the first black woman in the world to become a pilot.
- In her career as an aviator, Coleman’s specialties were parachuting and stunt flying.
- She did aerial tricks and barnstorming to help her earn a living.
- Bessie took part in many exciting air shows over the following five years, demonstrating her incredible high-flying skills. The first one was in September of 1922 in Garden City, Long Island.
- Showing her integrity and standing up for her fellow African Americans, Bessie refused to take part in performances held in locations where African Americans would be barred from the audience.
Death and Legacy
- Coleman was only 34 years old when she was killed. She was rehearsing for an aerial show.
- Coleman’s final flight and the one that caused her death took place on April 30, 1926. It was in Jacksonville, Florida. She was getting ready for an air show scheduled for the next day.
- Bessie was in the plane with a mechanic called William Wills. Wills was at the controls.
- A wrench that was unsecured became caught in the control gears and the plane crashed. As it was falling from 3,500 feet, Coleman fell out of the plane.
- 10,000 mourners filed past Coleman’s coffin in the South Side of Chicago. Numerous prominent members of the African American community attended her funeral.
- A public library in Chicago was named in Coleman’s honor, as are roads at O’Hare International Airport, Oakland International Airport, Tampa International Airport, and at Germany’s Frankfurt International Airport.
- In 2001, Coleman was inducted into the National Women’s Hall of Fame.
- In 2006, she was inducted into the National Aviation Hall of Fame.
- In 2014, Coleman was inducted into the International Air & Space Hall of Fame at the San Diego Air & Space Museum.
Bessie Coleman Worksheets
This is a fantastic bundle which includes everything you need to know about Bessie Coleman across 21 in-depth pages. These are ready-to-use Bessie Coleman worksheets that are perfect for teaching students about Bessie Coleman who was the first black woman in the world to earn a pilot’s license. She was a famous aviator and became well-known for her stunt flying and aerial tricks. This extraordinary woman was a pioneer in aviation, helping to break barriers for African Americans and women alike.
Complete List Of Included Worksheets
- Texas in the Early 1900’s
- The World of Aviation
- Women and Aviation
- From the Early Times
- Chasing Her Dream
- In the News!
- An Inspiration
- Color and Race
- It’s All in the Name
- All Bessie Blessings
Link/cite this page
If you reference any of the content on this page on your own website, please use the code below to cite this page as the original source.
Link will appear as Bessie Coleman Facts & Worksheets: https://kidskonnect.com - KidsKonnect, July 30, 2019
Use With Any Curriculum
These worksheets have been specifically designed for use with any international curriculum. You can use these worksheets as-is, or edit them using Google Slides to make them more specific to your own student ability levels and curriculum standards.