Willa Brown Chappell was a pioneering aviator who co-founded the National Airmen’s Association of America, an organization whose mission was to get African Americans into the United States Air Force.
Inspired by Bessie Coleman, Chappell (then known as Willa Beatrice Brown) started taking flying lessons in 1934 at Chicago ’s Aeronautical University . She earned her pilot’s license in 1937, making her the first African-American woman to be licensed to fly in the United States . In 1940, she and her first husband, Lieutenant Cornelius R. Coffey started the Coffey School of Aeronautics, where some of the approximately 200 pilots who trained there eventually became “ Tuskegee Airmen.” Born in Glasgow , Kentucky on January 22, 1906, she died on July 18, 1992 at the age of 86.
Posted By: Reggie Culpepper
Monday, January 7th 2013 at 4:03PM