Bessie Coleman, b. January 26, 1892: the first African-American to become a licensed pilot and the first American to obtain a pilot's license from the Federation Aeronautique Internationale.

When American flight schools rejected her because she was black and a woman, Coleman raised the money needed to study in France, where she learned to fly and earned her license. Back in the States, she became a celebrity and built a successful career as a barnstorming stunt pilot before her untimely death in 1926. Her influence lived on in Bessie Coleman Aero Clubs, which trained and inspired the next generation of African-American pilots.

More here + here.