Bessie Coleman

Topics: O'Hare International Airport, Bessie Coleman, Chicago Pages: 3 (1376 words) Published: March 22, 2005
Elizabeth "Bessie" Coleman was born on January 26, 1892 to Susan and George Coleman who had a large family in Texas. At the time of Bessie's birth, her parents had already been married for seventeen years and already had nine children, Bessie was the tenth, and she would later have twelve brothers and sisters. Even when she was small, Bessie had to deal with issues about race. Her father was of African American and Cherokee Indian decent, and her mother was black which made it difficult from the start for her to be accepted. Her parents were sharecroppers and her life was filled with renter farms and continuous labor. Then, when Bessie was two, her father decided to move himself and his family to Waxahacie, Texas. He thought that it would offer more opportunities for work, if he were to live in a cotton town. While Bessie was young, and her older brothers and sisters started to work in the fields, Bessie took on some new responsibilities. She would now look after her sisters, and sometimes even help her mother in the garden. Bessie started school when she was six years old and walked four miles to school everyday. In school, she was very intelligent and excelled at math. Then, in 1901, when Bessie was nine, her life changed dramatically, her father George Coleman left his family. It was said that he was tired of the racial barriers that existed, and so he returned to Oklahoma (Indian Territory as it was called then) to search for better opportunities. When he was unable to convince his family to come with him, he left Susan and his family. Shortly thereafter, her older brothers also moved out, leaving Susan with four girls under the age of nine. This caused Susan to have to get a job, which she found very soon. She became a housekeeper for Mr. and Mrs. Jones, who allowed Susan to still live at home, and they would also give her food and other handed-down clothing. Since her mother was now at work, Bessie took on the responsibility of acting as a mother and a...
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