From DoD Live:
A young woman from rural east Texas, who grew up in a hardscrabble existence as one of 13 children born to poor sharecropper parents, became an unlikely choice to pave the way for future African-American accomplishments in aviation and the U.S. Air Force.
Elizabeth “Bessie” Coleman would go on to be the first female pilot of African-American descent, but more importantly would later influence the accomplishments of others who would continue the evolution of African-American involvement in aviation throughout the 20th century.
William J. Powell, a lieutenant serving in an all-black unit during World War I, penned in his 1934 book, “Black Wings,” “Because of Bessie Coleman, we have overcome that which was much worse than a racial barrier. We have overcome the barriers within ourselves and dared to dream.”