This month we’re very proud to introduce the “Bessie” Aviator Boots, something of a “holy grail” of vintage reproduction shoes that I’ve wanted to produce for years. We’ve named them after Bessie Coleman, the first Black and Indigenous American woman to earn a pilot’s license. Bessie traveled to France in 1920, learning to fly a Nieuport 564 biplane, and earning her aviation license in 1921 from the Fédération Aéronautique Internationale. Returning to the USA, she became an acclaimed daredevil pilot in airshows, earning the nicknames “Queen Bess” and “Brave Bessie,” and inspiring generations of Black and Indigenous women in aviation to this day.
It was Bessie’s dream and intention to establish of a flight school for aspiring young Black pilots, but her mission was cut short when she perished in a plane crash in 1926. Today, 100 years later, her legacy and goal continues and has been established by two amazing organizations: Sisters of the Skies and Bessie Coleman Aviation All-stars.
Both of these non-profits support Black women in aviation through funding, partnerships, outreach, and scholarships. Their goals are to increase the number of Black women pilots in a career field where they are hugely underrepresented.
In honor of Bessie Coleman and in collaboration with Sisters of the Skies and Bessie Coleman Aviation All-stars, we are donating a portion of the pre-order sales of every pair of Bessie Boots to both organizations. This is a cause close to my heart and everyone at American Duchess is proud to be working with these two worthy organizations.
Learn more about Sisters of the Skies and Bessie Coleman Aviation All-stars, and check out the Bessie Boots in this month’s “Adventurous” Collection.