Flying With America’s Most Famous Female Aviators

Dozens of talented women preceded Amelia Earhart, and thousands have followed, and each has her own groundbreaking story to tell

(Library of Congress)

Willa Brown (1906-1992)

Willa Brown
(National Air and Space Museum)

Brown was the first African-American woman to earn a commercial flight license in the United States in 1937. She was a founding member of the National Airmen Association, which lobbied for the inclusion of black pilots in the U.S. Army Air Corps, and as a flight instructor she trained more than 200 students who eventually became Tuskegee Airmen, the all-black aerial combat unit that flew with distinction in World War II.


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