Tuskegee Air WOMEN!!!
Amid all the excitement over the debut of the film Red Tails, last weekend, I confess I had a secret wish. I was hoping to see a little herstory, too. Hoping that the there would be a shout out to the women that were also a part of the “Tuskegee Experiment” that gave African Americans the first opportunity to serve the U.S. military in the field of aviation. The women who worked along side these amazing men. The women that had to push past barriers put in front of them because they were black AND female to achieve their dreams of becoming pilots. Surely now, I thought, their story will be told. I mean hey, it’s 2012, right? We all know that whatever we’ve done, it took us working together to do it, right? Barack and Michelle fist bump, right?
Well, there weren’t ANY homegirls. None. So please allow me to introduce to some, and reaquaint with others, the ORIGINAL FLY GIRLS OF WORLD WAR II: Willa Brown Chappell, Janet Harmon Bragg, and Mildred Hemmons Carter.
All three of them were there making history right along side the Tuskegee Airmen. All three of them married pilots. All three of them have amazing life stories of vision, service, hard work, and determination that opened the doors – and the skies – to ALL women.
And it all started with Bessie Coleman. Though she was told “no” over and over again when she applied to flying school because they said black women had no place in aviation, she said “I refused to take ‘no’ for an answer.”
Six decades after our Tuskegee sisters broke the barrier in the military, former Marine Captain Vernice Armour became the first female African American combat pilot in 2003.
Yes she did. Yes we can.
Willa Brown Chappell: http://www.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~kyafamer/Barren/wbchappell.htm
Janet Harmon Bragg: http://siarchives.si.edu/blog/janet-harmon-bragg-female-aviator
Mildred Hemmons Carter: http://www.wavenewspapers.com/news/Tuskegees-historic-love-story-sprang-from-a-midair-courtship-137915158.html?m=y&smobile=y
Bessie Coleman: http://www.bessiecoleman.com/
Vernice Armour: http://vernicearmour.com/meet-flygirl/
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