Meet aviation pioneer Bessie Coleman via Betty Slater’s performance on April 14

by Contributed Content on April 9, 2018

In 1921, Bessie Coleman became the first woman of African-American descent, and the first of Native American descent, to hold a pilot license. Because she was black and female, Coleman could not find anyone in the U.S. willing to teach her how to fly, so she headed off to France.

Coleman toured the country with her barnstorming flight shows, but she only perform at venues where the crowds were desegregated and entered through the same gates.

This flying legend will be brought back to life in a special one-woman show from Betty Slater, on April 14 from 11:00 to noon at the Menlo Park City Council Chambers (701 Laurel St.).

Betty Jewell Slater is a playwright, director, poet and actress. She writes and performs monologues of historic black women and women of the Bible including Harriet Tubman, Rosa Parks, Bessie Coleman, Coretta Scott King, Mary the mother of Jesus, and Mary Magdalene. Betty brings each woman’s history to life with costumes, props, and humor. She performs for theaters, libraries, schools, corporations, universities, civic, and religious groups.

The event is free, and beverages will be provided, both thanks to funding from the Friends of the Menlo Park Library. No preregistration is necessary to attend.

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