Thousands of African American women overcame race and gender barriers to help win the war. High profile women like Mary McLeod Bethune and Lena Horne were names familiar to most Americans at the time and in later years. However, there were many more women who contributed to the struggle for equality and for victory over fascism. Some of their stories are told in Double Victory.
First African-American Female Aviator [b. 1892 - d. 1926] Bessie Coleman, the daughter of a poor, southern, African American family, became one of the most famous women and African Americans in aviation history. "Brave Bessie" or "Queen Bess," as she became known, faced the double difficulties of racial and gender discrimination in early 20th-century America but overcame such challenges to become the first African American woman to earn a pilot's license. Coleman not only thrilled audiences with her skills as a barnstormer, but she also became a role model for women and African Americans. Her very presence in the air threatened prevailing contemporary stereotypes. She also fought segregation when she could by using her influence as a celebrity to effect change, no matter how small.