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Onely Talks about Rebellious Singles (On the Solo Podcast) April 29, 2021

Posted by Onely in Great Onelies in History, Profiles.
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Welcome to the latest edition of our series Great Onelers In History. Lisa and I recently had the honor of joining singles advocate Peter McGraw on his progressive podcast Solo –The Single Person’s Guide to a Remarkable Life. Our theme was Rebellious Singles (with a side of Cat Lady Trope). I loved all the awesome unmarried historical figures we selected to profile, but perhaps my favorite was Lisa’s great uncle Charles Brandt, the hermit. He recently passed away, leaving an amazing legacy of social activism and environmental work that shattered my notions of what it means to be a hermit–and also made me totally jealous of Lisa’s esteemed genetic makeup! (Photo by Grant Callegari

One of the pathbreaking singles we talked about was Bessie Coleman, the first Black pilot. NOT THE FIRST “BLACK WOMAN” PILOT–THE FIRST BLACK PILOT, PERIOD! I need to point this out, because if you google “first black pilot” you end up with Eugene Bullard, the first black American military pilot. WRONG! Bessie Coleman was the first black pilot. No offense, Eugene, and I’m glad that you have an entire first page of Google results to your name, but really the person who should come up when I type “first black pilot” is Ms. Coleman. But it gets even better (by which I mean worse). If you search for “Bessie Coleman,” you get a bunch of links saying how she was the first African-American Woman Pilot. WRONG! She was the FIRST AFRICAN-AMERICAN PILOT! PERIOD! On page one of my Google results, there was only one teeny link buried near the bottom of the page to an Atlantic article and video that labelled Ms. Coleman as the first Black pilot. The vast majority of the others labelled her the first Black woman pilot. Don’t get me wrong–what she accomplished was even more amazing because she was a woman. But let’s not forget she was the first among ALL sexes, not just the stronger sex. 


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