February 11, 2013
7th Hour Algebra I
Research Paper: Elizabeth Bessie Coleman
Elizabeth Bessie Coleman was born on January 26, 1892 in Atlanta, Texas, the tenth of thirteen children to sharecroppers George, who was part Cherokee, and Susan Coleman. When Coleman was two years old at that time her family moved to Waxahachie, Texas, where she lived until age 23. Coleman began attending school in Waxahachie at age six and had to walk four miles each day to her segregated, one-room school, where she loved to read and established herself as an outstanding math student. She completed all eight grades of her one-room school. Every year, Coleman's routine of school, chores, and church was interrupted by the cotton harvest. In 1901, Coleman's life took a dramatic turn: George Coleman left his family. He became fed up with the racial barriers that existed in Texas. He returned to Oklahoma or Indian Territory as it was then called, to find better opportunities, but Susan and the children did not go with him. At age 12, she was accepted into the Missionary Baptist Church. When she turned eighteen, Coleman took her savings and enrolled in the Oklahoma Colored Agricultural and Normal University (now called Langston University) in Langston, Oklahoma. She completed one term before her money ran out, and returned home. Bessie returned to Waxahachie after her year of college, working as a laundress. In 1915, at the age of 23, she moved to Chicago, Illinois, where she lived with her brothers and she worked at the White Sox Barber Shop as a manicurist, where she heard stories from pilots returning home from World War I about flying during the war. She could not gain admission to American flight schools because she was black and a woman. No black U.S. aviator would train her either. Robert S. Abbott, founder and publisher of the Chicago Defender, encouraged her to study abroad. Coleman received financial backing...