The World's First African-American Fighter Pilot
As African-American History Month wraps up this coming week, I'd like to give a nod to someone that isn't particularly well-known, but should be. Eugene Bullard was the very first African-American fighter pilot in the world. Unfortunately, because of the atmosphere of bigotry in the United States during WWI, he wouldn't have even been considered. Luckily, France recognized his abilities and accepted him. Not only an accomplished pilot, he lived a fascinating life, at one time as a boxer, another as a night club owner in Paris... he even managed to evade the Gestapo during WWII.
And while I'm on the subject of African-Americans in aviation, I'd also like to acknowledge the contributions of black women -- in this case, a trio of female NASA astronauts. Jeanette Epps, Stephanie Wilson and Dr. Yvonne Cagle refused to take "no" for an answer and as a result, they have contributed so much to the face of science. These three were the focus of the book Hidden Figures: The Story of African-American Women Who Helped Win the Space Race by Margot Lee Shetterly. In fact, the book was so excellent that a film called Hidden Figures was released late December of last year.
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