January 22, 1906/Glasgow, Kentucky
July 18, 1992/Chicago, Illinois
Pilot, African-American civil rights activist, educator
What Makes Her Bitchin’:
Maybe you've heard of Bessie Coleman, but do you know about Willa Brown? She was the first African-American woman to receive her commercial pilot’s license in America AND the first black female to become an officer in the U.S. Civil Air Patrol. She also earned her MBA from Northwestern, and co-founded the Coffey School of Aeronautics to help train African-American pilots. What have you done lately? Yep, that's what I thought...
Betcha’ Didn’t Know:
Willa successfully lobbied the U.S. government to integrate African-American pilots into the “separate-but-equal” Army Air Corps and the federal Civilian Pilot Training Program. Having cultivated a taste for politics, she later ran unsuccessfully for Congress.
For more about this audacious aviatrix, check-out:
Masterful Willa Brown (1906-1992)
Brown, Willa (Oxford African American Studies Center)