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American History

History on Saturday: Empire Mine State Park


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The California gold rush is an integral part of American history. In the 1850s, gold fever drove men and women by the hundreds of thousands to the land known now as California. Wealth distribution was not good at this time. Simply put, most Americans were poor, barely making it or just making it while the top percentage of people were well off or wealthy. Gold provided an opportunity for those seeking fortune and fame, a chance for a better life: a comfortable living, and a legacy to pass on to future generations.

It was, however, an illusion. Once folks arrived after packing up and taking the small amount of what they owned and traveling over treacherous and dangerous routes found little gold they sought. Even so, the migration help to secure land from foreign leaders and built a nation we know today.

Empire Mine State Park is a place where you can visit a real live gold mine set up to accommodate the thousands throng. Bring the family and spend a Saturday learning the history of the mine. The park offers, trails, areas for picnics, and a gift shop. There is something for everyone at this park. Check out their informative website here:

The Empire Mine State Park

http://www.empiremine.org/

Enjoy!

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George Eastman: Creator of Kodak Film


George Eastman is the man behind the creation of the Kodak film business. Kodak is a household name but not any name for familiar to George as he made the name up. Why didn’t George name it after himself? Maybe he thought his invention would not go far and he wanted to save himself some embarrassment. Not only did the business do well but George made more money than he could have imagined. To celebrate his success, he donated money to some of his favorite organizations where he felt the extra finances would be a welcomed blessing.

George was born in Waterville, New York on July 12, 1854. At the time, the western half of the United States was still primarily frontier. So, living on the East Coast and in New York was not too bad. Life was busy there, and the newspaper brought the political gossip of the day. George’s parents were well off. His father was in charge of a business college in Rochester. His mother stayed home caring for George who was the baby of the family. No doubt the two sisters older than him helped out nurturing and caring for George.

When George reached age 7, his father died. His mother rented rooms in the home to earn income and keep her family going. George loved going to school in Rochester but felt his mother needed him at home more. In 1877, at the age of 23, George found work as a bookkeeper. He earned good money and saved what he could to invest in his hobby as an amateur photographer. During a trip to Mackinac Island in Michigan, George spilled photographic chemicals and ruined his clothes. He needed a better way to travel with his photography supplies and thought about what he could do.

The first thing George did was try photography using dry plates instead of wet ones. This new technique took the messy spill able chemical away during photo processing. He then created a coating machine to apply gelatin to a dry plate and the device he used for this he patented in England in 1879 and the United States in 1880. After selling his English patent, he opened a shop in his hometown to manufacture his plate. He eventually replaced the glass with paper. When someone developed film, they could pull the paper away, and the remaining product was a negative copy.

George, along with another man named William Walker, took the product one step further by creating a roll, forming a more extended portion of the film and a holder for storage. The holder could fit any camera at the time. Sometime later others came along to create a similar product using the technology used by workers in Eastman’s manufacturing plant. A lawsuit ensued with George having to pay the suing party a large sum of money. It did not deter him, however. He continued to work to improve his product. In 1888, George created a Camera he named Kodak. This camera allowed ordinary folks to take photos and send them to the manufacturing plant for processing. It was easy to use and affordable. George marketed his product on simplicity and convenience. By 1892 George founded Eastman Kodak Company where his film products could be mass produced.

George continued to improve his product and to reinvent his business. He was a driven man not only for money and prestige but also he looked for ways to give back to society. George was a job creator. He treated employees well and assisted other inventors. George provided products used in Hollywood and world war. George never married. Perhaps he never found the time to find a suitor. Maybe his world gave him joy nothing else could. George ended his own life after pondering his accomplishments. He did this because he felt he had completed his work on earth and there wasn’t anything else for him to do. His rest was to be his final rest.

What would George think of his product now where so many have depended on his technology? Even today with all of the digital technology available there are those out there was still love to process film and enjoy the products that George created over 100 years ago.

The George Eastman Museum 

The National Register of Historic Places


 

What is the National Register of Historic Places?

This register is an official listing of properties in the United States designated for preservation for future use and observation. Qualifications of the list according to the National Park Service can be a site, a district, building, structure or even some type of object. The reasons as to why these things are to be restored and preserved need to be considered for the register. Any of these qualified items may even earn a tax credit to offset costs that the preservation can cause.

History of the Register

In 1966, lawmakers passed the Historic Preservation Act. This act enabled the National Park Service to create an office to manage all the places that need protection from becoming damaged or destroyed. Various managers and directors set up a central networking site for the many different agencies with the same intentions to work together. Through this networking opportunity, archaeologist, financial experts, and administrators established guidelines for grant writing, fundraising and, steps and procedures of running the register. Thus, making the official policies and operations of the Register transparent and accessible to the public. Historic properties that used financial gain to support their preservation acquired an additional tax incentive. This incentive ultimately led to the criteria that any historical property upkeep and profits were to be included criteria for entry into the register.

 

Register Nominations Criteria

If you want to get your historic property onto the register, you must meet specific criteria. A form provides necessary information such as what it is, what shape it is in and what is its significance. In other words, why should the property be restored or preserved? Is it essential to the location in the community? Is it relevant to the United States as a whole? The National Park Service collects the information on the form and approves it for further action or disapproves it depending on the information provided.

 

Processing

The process for entry to the Registry is a bit complicated. You need to get help from the people who have experience with successful submissions. You must be committed to a finished project, and you must be able to provide money for the upkeep of your preserve property. Once you accomplish this, many rewards can benefit your hard work. This benefit can include support created by remembrance and celebration, tourism and education, revenue and tax incentives. The register provides a real umbrella of protection for the historic property which can provide additional protections that is city or town cannot alone provide.

Check out the register here and browse the current listings. Do you have a history property you would like to preserve and protect?

Evolution of American Pharmacy


Out with the Old, in with the NewImage result for modern pharmacy

Beginning in 1950 pharmacy begin to change in many ways due to advances in technology. Just twenty years earlier pharmacists still compounded prescription medications. But with new technology and innovative pharmaceutical practices, the profession saw a twenty-five percent decrease in the need for compounding. New marketing techniques allowed for the production of packaged ready-made drugs. As a result, large pharmaceutical companies sprang up to keep up with demand.

Post World War II

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After the second world war ended in 1945, many veterans dealt with drug addiction and became susceptible to adverse reactions due to taking dangerous medications. Government agencies together with watch groups worked to monitor the problem and find ways to reduce unnecessary injury and death resulting from the consumption of unmonitored drugs. Lawmakers addressed the issue by passing strict guidelines for the use and dispense of medication.  Later in 1951 Congressman, Frank B. Keefe, of Wisconsin, put forth an amendment to the 1938 Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act. This change defined the difference between over the counter and behind the counter meds.

1950s

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This decade saw a growth in the availability of medications. Penicillin hit the market. Hospitals developed a system that allowed a pharmacist to dispense a generic product that mimicked a name brand product. Many pharmaceutical manufacturers’ protested this idea arguing that this would open up an unfair competitive product but complied with the law anyway.

1960s

Pharmaceutical centers begin with Eugene V. White who turned his drug store into an office type setting. He set the example for other pharmacy professionals to follow. Pharmacists’ role evolved to acting as a pharmaceutical consultant to customers. As a consultant, the pharmacist could apply more efficient safety controls for patients. Consulting was fruitful and lead to an ethics code established by the American Pharmacist Association and later cooperation with Medicare and Medicaid. As a result, expert pharmacists became the first line of inspection for accuracy and the communication of drug information between regulators and consumers. Third-party programs such as insurance agencies also required a pharmacist’s observation for accuracy and the necessity of prescriptions but still influenced consumers to purchase name brand drugs. Because of this, a thorough set up of further laws were in enacted to protect consumers.

1970s

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Computers added relief to the pharmacy with the replacement of paperwork and tracked harmful drug interactions, doses, etc., thus improving prescription care for patients.

1980s

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It seemed that over night, Walmart stores opened up in small towns across America and impacted small businesses to include corner drug stores. Many of these mall drug stores closed. A new demand for mail service prescriptions appeared as well. Managed patient care also became the norm. Pharmacies in the middle between patient and management companies needed to find ways to evolve with the times and so, pharmacy store management firms were created.

The 1990s and Beyond

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Pharmacists worked to meet the demand of growing populations in need of pharmaceutical care. The pharmacy today is run by a bunch of support positions. Pharmacists are at the top of this management. As the new technologies, innovations and improvements are made in medical care, the support for pharmacy operation does as well.

The Future of Pharmacy

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What will pharmacies look like in the future? What innovations can be created to speed up the waiting period for customers and their medications? How can we lower cost for these prescriptions for the consumer? What is the future role of pharmacist technicians and the pharmacists themselves?

These are a few questions to contemplate about when thinking about the future of pharmacy and may predict how the pharmacy profession will evolve for generations to come.

References:

Higby, Gregory J. “The Continuing Evolution of American Pharmacy Practice, 1952–2002.” Journal of the American Pharmaceutical Association (1996), vol. 42, no. 1, 2002, pp. 12–15., doi:10.1331/108658002763538017.

All pictures courtesy of Google Images.

American Pharmacy: Art to Profession


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Between 1902 and 1952 the American pharmacy transformed from an age-old art to a respected profession. Before the turn of the twentieth century, anyone trained as a druggist through apprenticeship could work in the store as a clerk. They could earn a qualification through state exams. From there opportunity arose to obtain a small pharmaceutical business. Lack of oversight and monitoring of drug manufacturing caused an increase in the circulation of fake drugs in and out of the stores. Pharmacists worked together to come up with a system to legitimize their trade and businesses. New York was the first to lead the way in requiring state board certification proceeded by at least two years of college. Soon all the states followed suit until the whole country united pharmaceutical standards (1).

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Even though most pharmacists had been the sole proprietors of their businesses and worked long hours each day, hiring assistants became a temporary fix. Because the pharmacist could not operate and manage the store properly at the same time,  cheap manufacturing caused problems in customer service areas. Pharmacists failed to keep with demand for a quality product, and popularity of assistants in the stores diminished. Further problems arose about legal qualifications of pharmacy assistants. The positions of those helpers phased out in the 1920s (2).

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Image result for old drug stores 1920s

The corner drug store phenomenon ended abruptly by the introduction of retail chains taking over several of the businesses. Walgreens was one of the first chains to do this in the first part of the century. The mass production of manufactured drugs entered the market and stifled the need for compounding. Pre-Made drugs were readily available in supermarkets. Smaller drug stores could mot compete for customers, and only a few remained in operation (3).

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In 1929 pharmacists began selling “generic home remedies.” These labeled medicines included the pharmacists’ name, photo, and signature. They then marketed touted the drugs as an innovative, and a new way for people to treat symptoms at home. Some of these medicines were not legitimate, however. To combat this and save their businesses, pharmacists patented their medicinal creations (4).

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Soda fountains entered the pharmacies during prohibition and soon became very popular. Medicines that contained alcohol were consumed inside the pharmacy only. After WWII and due to a lack of personnel to run them, the fountain counters began to disappear, and the ones that remained lost popularity in the 1960s (5).

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In the 1930s pharmacists occasionally worked in hospitals. But by the 1940s the number of hospital pharmacists’ increased their presence by interning. Hospital pharmacy eased the burden of busy medical staff, and in 1947, the United States government passed the Hospital Survey and Construction Act. This act stressed the need to operate public health centers and provided a one-stop shop medical care facility where folks could get the best care for their medical needs. This act allowed pharmacists to practice their craft in a professional setting and gain public respect for the profession (6).

Between 1902 and 1947 the American Pharmacy changed from an age-old art practiced by those who artfully crafted medicine to a recognized and respected profession. The pharmaceutical trade grew because pharmacists’ changed their methods with the changing times. What had commonly worked in the past, now collided with innovative thinking and creative ideas to broaden the reach to those who needed it. Pharmacists changed their old ways of doing business and in doing so created the opportunity for themselves and those who would take up the profession in the future.

1.Glenn Sonnedecker, The American Practice of Pharmacy, 1902-1952, in Gregory Higby and Elaine Condouris Stroud, American Pharmacy (1852-2002): A Collection of Historical Essays (Madison, WI: American Institute of the History of Pharmacy, 2005), 5.

2. Ibid, 6.

3. Ibid, 7.

4. Ibid.

5. Ibid, 8.

6. Ibid, 9-10.

All photos courtesy of Google Images.

 

Some Things about Benjamin Franklin


 

 

Some Things about Benjamin Franklin

In the 1730’s Benjamin Franklin did not consider African or Native Americans as equals. He did not put thought into them at all when thinking of how to improve the quality of life for all Americans. He saw them as unable to be capable of equality because he felt they lacked intellectual intelligence.

He owned slaves. He viewed them as an “investment.”

In 1751, he changed his mind on slavery after visiting a school and watching African-American children. He noticed that they did indeed have the same intellectual intelligence and learning abilities as that of White American children. He saw that their possible contributions to humanity significant and because of this he turned against slavery, publicly condemning it as a “detestable commerce.”

He got involved in abolition and became the president of the Society for the Abolition of Slavery.

He questioned everything.

He was tolerant of people’s religions.

He was commander of a militia that took down the Paxton Boys.

He was his family’s historian. (1)

I have a biography of Benjamin Franklin to read in my personal library. I am very curious about Benjamin Franklin and did not know much about him other than the general knowledge such as his discovery of static lightning. So, I picked up an old college textbook in the free book section of my local library, and when I came to a short essay about him, I found some things that stood out to me as being not only interesting but also important. Benjamin Franklin is a fascinating man because he seems so curious about his world and he devotes his whole life to learning and to the service of others. He never really has a clear path of what he wants.

Benjamin Franklin takes advantage of the opportunities that arise and they direct him to success and achievement. He is not motivated by agendas or thought out plans but uses his experiences to either better himself or others. I find I can relate to him in many ways. I think Benjamin Franklin can teach us a lot about what it means to be a little independent and be able to accomplish things without a roadmap of how to do it. He shows us that we can change our mind over time about issues that are controversial. He shows us the power that knowledge has and how it can lead to opportunities in our lives we could never have dreamed possible.

(1) Meet Dr. Franklin, Richard B. Morris in Portrait of America by Stephen B. Oates, 1999.

Belding Gets a New Newspaper


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Belding Home News, June 19, 1879. Courtesy of the Alvah N. Belding Library-Belding, Michigan.

On June 19, 1879, E. Mudge & L.E. Kendall published volume one, issue one of the Belding Home News newspaper. The proprietors/editors of the paper stated on the front page that the paper aimed to provide a one-stop source of information for Belding and the surrounding towns and counties. This information was meant to enrich the lives of all of these residents. They also explained that they created the paper without affiliation with any political party or religion. Newspapers up until this time were commonly owned and published by political party or their affiliates. With just 600 early subscribers as an investment, the editors dreamed that even though the paper started out small with any luck, it would grow larger and more prosperous.

The first business printed in the press was the meeting “held at the school-house” to plan a 4th of July celebration. On the committee sat folks from Belding, Orleans, Otisco, Grattan, Eureka, and Smyrna. Ladies present at the meeting provided refreshments. They discussed a charity dinner also to be held during the celebration to benefit the Belding Cornet Band. The food was to be provided by folks attending (1).

The paper published various types of announcements in the local section of the newspaper. These included basic things such as the status of R. M. Wilson who had been, “suffering from fever,” a new church erected at Palmer station, as well as the return of DR. G. Conner from Pennsylvania. Another was the mention of Mrs. L. E. Knedall who had “been sick for several weeks with pleurisy” and Dr. C. of Greenville the attending physician. This information was useful to know if you needed a doctor who could treat lung illnesses in the late 19th century. Another mention was the concern Belding residents had over the recent competition in “wool-buying” that had been economically successful in the nearby town of Ionia. The city of Belding wanted in on the action (2).

Ashley Grove held a Strawberry Festival and the proceeds paid for a new church organ. A familiar name in the local section was that of Levi Broas who built a new addition to his farmhouse at the head of Broas street and that “those who know Mr. Broas’ way of doing things will anticipate a fine thing in style and finish.” News of a recent tragedy announced that a young man named Miller whose parents hailed from Fallasbourg, ” was accidentally shot a few days since” and that his internment had been “the Sunday past.” He had been working away from home when the accident occurred (3).

Some more positive news states that Belding had a Literary Club and well-known Elocutionist (a literary reader) Miss Georgia Gates performed some classical readings for a small party of guests who were impressed and well entertained. Also, an announcement mentioned was the successful Strawberry and Ice Cream Festival run by the Ladies Mite Society of The Christian Church that included such festivities as Croquet. Guests had been encouraged “to stay as long as they please.” They had invited everyone to attend (4).

Two gentlemen by the names of Professor J.H. Pixley and S. M. Grannis who were known all over the state to be excellent musicians entertained the “Beldingites.” On the farm of H.H. Belding and maintained by Mr. S. Case the paper announced, that the from the cattle raised there farmers produced cream in the “Cooley Creamer”, and then directly shipped the cream to Chicago at the price of twenty cents per pound. This was a good business exchange for the town and worth noting (5).

Advertisements in the paper show that the city provided transportation in town by way of a horse-car. This car connected folks with the D.L. & N.R.R. and brought mail to and from the town (6).

The first new newspaper in Belding shows the attitudes folks had about their town and how they felt about community. Sharing good and bad news surely brightened folks’ days when they read the information presented there. Even though there is no newspaper today for the city of Belding, the town still shares information through social networks online and by word of mouth. They continue to show support for their fellow citizens and ensuring everyone is included in the town activities which are created to enrich lives and bring prosperity.

Notes:

1. E. Mudge and L.E.Kendall, eds. Belding Home News, (Belding, 1879), 1.

2. Ibid, 2.

3. Ibid.

4. Ibid.; The History of Jasper County, Missouri: Including a Condensed History of the State, a Complete History of Carthage and Joplin, Other Towns and Townships … (Mills & Company, Des Moines, Iowa, 1883), 287. https://books.google.com/books?id=TtEyAQAAMAAJ&pg=RA1-PA18&dq=miss+georgia+gates+carthage+missouri&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjZl7_62KPQAhXBwFQKHRrAABkQ6AEIIDAB#v=onepage&q=miss%20georgia%20gates%20carthage%20missouri&f=false. Accessed November 12, 2016). This page lists Georgia Gates living in Carthage Missouri that proves she did indeed exist.

5. Ibid, 3.

6. Ibid.

President Lincoln Addresses Two Critical Issues in 1863


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President Abraham Lincoln

During the Civil War and in the summer of 1863 the fighting between the Northern and Southern parts of the United States was closing in on a climax of death and destruction. At the time President Lincoln faced two particular problems with the situation. First, how to end slavery and second how to keep the ranks of the Union Army from becoming depleted. After considerable thought, he chose a solution for both problems: an emancipation proclamation and a wartime draft.

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Emancipation Proclamation

The proclamation itself focused solely on ending slavery by making it illegal in the United States. It did not give enslaved Blacks the full freedom that White Americans enjoyed. One reason for this is that Lincoln favored buying time for the South to come to terms with the new law,  and to gradually allow Black slaves an opportunity to choose a life for themselves once freed. Both Northern and Southern Americans had conflicting views on slavery as a whole, but the majority of all cared little for slaves once free and even disliked their assimilation into American society even more. Perhaps Lincoln felt by allowing a slow progression of this adaptation, a change that might prove easier to adapt to for all.

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Draft Poster

The wartime draft allowed an unlimited supply of able-bodied men, either age between 25 and 35 or between ages of 35 and 45 depending on their marital status, to serve in the Union Army by way of a lottery system. The lottery system was a recruitment tool used to draft individuals and not just sweep any and all men that qualified. It was meant to be a fair system. However, if you were wealthy you could get out of the draft by paying a bit of cash. This was hardly fair to those of lower income classes who never stood one chance to dodge the draft. Many folks in New York also perceived this solution as particularly federally intrusive to their lives. It  increased focus on slavery politically as three groups vied for their attention on the national stage: the New York Democrats which included Irish migrant workers, Republicans who remained neutral on the topic of slavery and Abolitionists who vigorously rallied the public support for the end of slavery with marches and speeches.  Finally, it incited anger with the White male working population who felt the law was tipped unfairly toward them by favoring Blacks and immigrants to whom the draft law did not even apply.

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Political Cartoon depicting effect of Draft Riot and Emancipation Proclamation

These groups clashed in July with deadly consequences. On the 13th, the day of the draft lottery, violence erupted, as tempers grew out of control. Working class men began attacking the very people they felt the federal government aimed to support in the draft. They attacked Irish immigrant workers naive of the American justice system. They attacked Blacks: women, children and elderly. These victims were easy targets and could not defend themselves because they did not have the same right within the law as White Americans. Another reason rioters targeted African Americans was because of their progression toward upward mobility. For example, they destroyed a black-owned orphanage, a  business created for the sole purpose of Blacks helping Blacks. These institutions’ did not interfere with White society, so why was this threatening? Perhaps the upward mobility by free or freed Blacks was a threat politically to Democrats and a reason for them to publicly protest the Republicans and the government itself.

Lincolns two solutions did affect the United States significantly, but it did not unify the nation, as he had desired. To quell the riot and fighting federal troops were ordered in to control crowds, establish curfew and authority and, bring order to the city. The draft stayed, and the anger and rage lingered on for years to come. Tensions increased between ethnic groups and whites. Now the country was not only divided by north and south but between race and ethnicity as well.

Some White citizens did support African Americans and came to their defense to try and fight back against or protect them from violence. However, there were too few of these groups to make a difference. No one directed their attention to the political systems in place that seems to incite further racial problems between different ethnicity in New York at the time.

The Draft Riots remains a spot of contention within the history of the United States as a nation. What has yet to be determined is why the nation focused more on the government to end the war and bring peace and less focus on ending racial tensions and bringing the nation together racially and ethnically.

 

References used:

The New York City Draft Riots of 1863 http://www.press.uchicago.edu/Misc/Chicago/317749.html.

New York Draft Riots

http://www.history.com/topics/american-civil-war/draft-riots

Four Days of Fire: The New York City Draft Riots

http://www.history.com/news/four-days-of-fire-the-new-york-city-draft-riots

Civil War Draft Records: Exemptions and Enrollments by Michael T. Meier

http://www.archives.gov/publications/prologue/1994/winter/civil-war-draft-records.html

 

African-American Woman Bessie Coleman


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Bessie Coleman, via Wikipedia.

Bessie Coleman (1892-1926) defied Jim Crow laws and racism towards Blacks early in the 20th century by becoming the first African-American female aviator. Despite the fact that she grew up poor, she sought out the opportunity to make her dreams come true. With the help of a mentor and the inspiration of her brothers, she ventured overseas to France to obtain flight training. France at the time did not discriminate against Blacks but welcomed them into its society and schools. There Bessie not only completed her training but gained fame and prestige as a fully qualified and talented airplane pilot, who performed stunts at air shows. This recognition influenced other African American women to realize they too could defy oppression by White society and seek opportunities previously closed to women of their race. Bessie’s success and others contributed not only to the Women’s Movement and but also to the Equal Rights Movement for years to come because of her belief in optimism and perseverance.

Unfortunately, Bessie would not live to see the changes inspired by her contributions of African-American firsts. She died on April 30, 1926, at her final air show. Her legacy continues to this day through the recognition and adoration by modern female African American aviators.

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