Waxahachie resident, Bessie Coleman, receives a day in her honor
Last week, the resolution was officially passed in the Commissioners Court and Jan. 26 will forever be known as Bessie Coleman Day in Ellis County.
Coleman was the first African American woman licensed pilot in the world and raised in the city of Waxahachie.
“First African American licensed female pilot in the world and there’s nothing that stands out in Waxahachie that let’s people know this is the home of Bessie Coleman," said Dr. Jamal Rasheed, founder of the Ellis County African American Hall of Fame Museum and Library.
Coleman was born in 1892 and in 1922 she performed the first public flight by an African American woman. She was famous for doing “loop-the-loops” and making the shape of an “8” in an airplane.
Before receiving her license, Coleman had a difficult time getting into flight schools in the United States for being African American and a woman.
The resolution was passed on a Tuesday at the Waxahachie Courthouse. The museum sold “Fly Like Bessie” mugs to fund their ongoing projects through the museum.
“She went to school in Waxahachie," Rasheed explained. "She came here when she was 4 years old and she attended elementary and high school here in Waxahachie in the segregated high school that was right there on Wyatt Street called Oaklawn.”
Oaklawn Park is now where Oaklawn High School used to stand, he said.
“I’m not finished with that. I also presented a resolution to the Airport Board to rename Midway Airport Bessie Coleman Midway Regional Airport. Just put her name on the front," Rasheed said. “Then, I’m gonna be asking TXDoT to be renaming a portion of 287, Bessie Coleman Freeway. You’re riding on 287 from one point of Ellis County to the other point of Ellis County, I want that to be named Bessie Coleman Freeway."
Rasheed is ambitious to see these changes through.
“My whole thing is to give recognition to African Americans who came out of Waxahachie, were raised in Waxahachie, and I don’t necessarily mean football players either," Rasheed added. “My intent is to educate people on great people throughout Ellis County because the wall in the museum has people from all over Ellis County.”
Eventually, Rasheed would like there to be a Welcome to Waxahachie sign that states "Welcome to Waxahachie, Home of Bessie Coleman."
The “Fly Like Bessie” mugs will also be sold during the regular museum hours on Saturdays, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
For more information or to donate to the museum, contact them at firstname.lastname@example.org .