Life of first Black female aviator told by niece


OPELIKA — The Opelika Public Library (OPL) recently hosted a story hour about the life of Bessie Coleman, the first African-American female Aviator, told by Bessie’s great niece, Gigi Coleman.
“Bessie Coleman’s story is important, because she overcame racial and gender barriers to become the first African American woman to earn a pilot’s license, inspiring generations with her courage and determination,” said Library Director Rosanna McGinnis. “Everyone should listen to stories like Bessie’s to learn from the struggles and triumphs of trailblazers, fostering empathy, understanding and motivation for positive change.”
McGinnis said OPL prioritizes highlighting stories that represent diverse experiences and history.
“Events like this are important because they shed light on untold narratives, enriching our collective understanding of history and inspiring future generations to break barriers and pursue their dreams despite obstacles,” she said. “This show was provided to us by our fantastic partners at the Auburn University School of Aviation.”
For those who missed the event and want to learn more about the history of aviation and all those who influenced the field, the library is currently displaying the museum exhibit, Aim High.
The OPL will also host other programs that explore important stories that need to be told, as well as provide opportunities to build community and meet new people.
“Storytime isn’t just about the stories themselves; it’s like opening a treasure chest full of diverse narratives,” McGinnis said. “When we pick stories from different cultures and backgrounds, it’s like peeking into worlds we might not have explored otherwise. It’s like having a cozy chat with friends, sharing experiences and perspectives that make us go, ‘Wow, I never thought of it like that!’”
To learn about this and other library events, view the calendar at