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Denver's 'Fly Girls and Boys' honor aviation pioneer Bessie Coleman

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Posted at 8:43 AM, Jun 17, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-17 10:43:46-04

DENVER - This week, a group of young Coloradans will honor Bessie Coleman, the first African-American and Native American woman to hold a pilot’s license.

The Fly Girls and Boys Bessie Coleman Denver Chapter of Take Flight Leadership Aviation is an organization that helps teach leadership and aviation skills to teens.

Jacqueline Withers, the founder of the Fly Girls and Boys Denver chapter, told Denver7 the group uses Coleman’s story as inspiration to fight through any challenge’s life throws at them.

Withers said in 1921, Coleman went to France to earn her pilot's license because Black women were not allowed to receive their pilot’s license in United States at that time.

“This woman had to learn a different language. She had to learn French in order to go to the schools in France and I thought to myself, 'Wow, how many people know about this? How many people even think to stop to think of what we have to do to be successful?'” said Withers.

This Saturday, the Fly Girls and Boys will host a flyover in honor of the 100-year anniversary of Bessie Coleman earning her pilot's license.

The flyover event is happening at the Rocky Mountain Metropolitan Airport at 10 a.m. on Saturday.

It will feature an international pilot who is famous for her incredible stunts.

“One of our pilots is Dagmar Kress. She is a legendary stunt pilot. She will be doing some loops. Bessie Coleman was famous for that, so Kress will be doing that as well,” said Withers.

The Fly Girls and Boys have also setup a special display case at Denver International Airport that tells Coleman’s story.

The display case is located on the west side of the main terminal on Level 6 at the far north end.