Saturday, February 4, 2012

Brave Bessie Coleman (Black History for Kids) 

Bessie Coleman, the first African American female pilot, grew up in a cruel world of poverty and discrimination. Coleman was born in Atlanta, Texas, in 1892 as the tenth of thirteen children. They settled in Waxahachie, Texas, and worked as sharecroppers. Her mother encouraged Bessie’s schooling when she showed an aptitude for math. She eventually moved to Chicago and lived with her brother Walter, a Pullman porter. She became a manicurist and worked in the White Sox barbershop. After learning French, she attended the famous flight school, Ecole d’Aviation des Frères Caudron in Northern France. No schools in America would train a black person.
Coleman returned to the states and performed acrobatics in air shows around the country and gave lectures inspiring audiences that included many children. She believed that there was freedom in the skies and would not perform in an air show with a segregated audience.

In 1998, Reeve Lindbergh, daughter of world-renowned aviator, Charles Lindbergh, wrote the children’s book, “Nobody Owns the Sky: The Story of ‘Brave Bessie’.”
Lindbergh, first learned about Bessie Coleman in 1986, the 60th anniversary of her father’s famous flight. “Bessie was an incredibly brave person who was hardly noticed, while my parents got so much publicity it was difficult for them to live their normal lives. I saw a crazy imbalance and wanted to try to set things right.”
People said she was crazy; it wouldn’t be right.

“You’re a girl, not a man, and you’re not even white!”

But did she stop dreaming? Not quite!
Sweet Blackberry was founded by actor/writer, Karyn Parsons (The Fresh Prince of Bel Air). As a new mom, Parsons was motivated by a strong desire to instill a sense of culture and heritage to her daughter. Inspired by her own mother and upbringing, Parsons created Sweet Blackberry—delivering to all children, stories that need to be told and heard.

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