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Firsts in Flight: A Hidden History


Take a “timeline tour” outlining the significant contributions made by women and African Americans, particularly by African American women, to our country's history of aviation and space flight in this exhibit at Old City Hall. Meet pioneer aviator Bessie Coleman, who in 1921, became the first African American woman to earn her pilot’s license. And before her, in 1911 Harriet Quimby became the first American woman of any race to secure her pilot’s license. Meet other “hidden figures,” including the African American women who played a pivotal role in the country’s space program in the second half of the twentieth century. Other “hidden figures” include Bellingham’s women who worked in the factories and shipyards during World War II, including Marie Manning, the first female welder at the Bellingham Marine Railway & Boatbuilding Company in 1943. This exhibition was provided, in part, by the Morehead Planetarium & Science Center at the University of North Carolina. Special thanks to Seattle’s Museum of Flight.