From the acclaimed author of Flygirl and the bestselling author of Code Name Verity comes the thrilling and inspiring true story of the desegregation of the skies.
In the years between World War I and World War II, aviation fever was everywhere, including among Black Americans. But what hope did a Black person have of learning to fly in a country constricted by prejudice and Jim Crow laws, where some previous Black aviators like Bessie Coleman had to move to France to earn their wings?
American Wings follows a group of determined Black Americans: Cornelius Coffey and Johnny Robinson, skilled auto mechanics; Janet Harmon Bragg, a nurse; and Willa Brown, a teacher and social worker. Together, they created a flying club and built their own airfield on Chicago’s South Side. As the U.S. hurtled toward World War II, they established a school to train new pilots, teaching both Black and white students together and proving, in a time when the U.S. military was still segregated, that successful integration was possible.
Complete with black-and-white photographs throughout, American Wings brings to light a hidden history of pioneering Black men and women who, with grit and resilience, battled powerful odds for an equal share of the sky.