Bessie Coleman, the first African American to earn a pilot license, is being honored with her own Barbie doll.
On Wednesday (January 25), Mattel announced the release of the Bessie Coleman Inspiring Women doll ahead of the late pilot's birthday Thursday (January 26) and Black History Month, per Essence.
"With an unwavering determination, Bessie became the first Black woman and Native-American woman pilot. Despite all crosswinds, she achieved her dream of flying and dedicated her legacy to encouraging more people of color to pursue aviation," Mattel said in a statement on social media. "With role models like #BessieColeman, girls can see that their imaginations are only the beginning to what they can achieve."
Ahead of the doll's release, Barbie partnered with Coleman’s great-niece Gigi Coleman, the president of The Bessie Coleman Aviation All-Stars, which is a non-profit organization that encourages students to explore careers in STEM and aeronautics.
“As someone who has dedicated much of my life to encouraging youth of all backgrounds to explore careers in aviation, my family and I commend Barbie for expanding my great aunt’s legacy in such an overwhelming tribute, with a Bessie Coleman Inspiring Women doll,” Gigi Coleman said. "We hope through this doll more people will discover Bessie’s story and be inspired."
Barbie is also set to honor the history-maker through a partnership with American Airlines, which was the first commercial airline to hire a Black pilot. An American Airlines flight is expected to feature an all-Black female crew on Bessie Coleman's birthday.
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