US Mint to Honor Bessie Coleman As 1st African-American Female Pilot on a Coin

PhenomenalMAG Staff  |  Culturally Conscious

Bessie Coleman, a pioneer in aviation, will be featured on the back of the next U.S. quarter.

The US Mint has announced that Bessie Coleman will be a part of the American Women Quarters Program.

There will be a picture of Coleman, the first African American woman to get a pilot's license, on the back of a US quarter in 2023. Next year, Jovita Idar, Edith Kanaka'ole, Maria Tallchief, and Eleanor Roosevelt will also be pictured on quarters.

The Mint's deputy director, Ventris C. Gibson said, "The diversity of accomplishments and experiences of these outstanding women reflect the contributions women have always made in the history of our country. This is a good thing that the Mint is paying attention to the work these pioneering women did for our society.”

In Chicago, Coleman worked as a manicurist. She was inspired by her brothers' stories about women who flew planes in France. There were no flights for Coleman because she was a Black woman.

Coleman didn't give up, and he kept going. In the end, he was accepted into the Caudron Brothers School of Aviation in Le Crotoy, France. Her international pilot's license came from the FAI in June 1921, and she got it then.

As a young woman, Coleman loved to sing in front of crowds and inspire young women of color. Coleman got hurt in a car accident two years into her job.

When she got better, she bought her own Curtiss JN Jenny. Coleman went back to performing, but only at non-segregated events.

Coleman died in the April 1926 crash of a test flight with a mechanic when a wrench fell out of the engine.

The Bessie Coleman Aviator's Club, which was started by African American female pilots in 1977, honors the memory of Coleman.


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