The struggle for equality in this world has not been an easy one. While the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s and 1970s may have paved the way for equal treatment, it’s often in short supply out in the real world.
That’s why the two ladies we’re about to introduce you to are so important. They just proved that if you follow your dreams and you’re passionate about what you can do, you can achieve anything – the sky is literally the limit.
So, let’s meet Stephane Johnson and Dawn Cook and see what they did that was so amazing.
10. Black History Month
This year’s Black History Month has just drawn to a close, and that means that there’s no better time to celebrate the achievements of two black women in America. It’s hard to imagine a better story to bring Black History Month to a happy conclusion with, either.
9. Negro History Week
It doesn’t sound politically correct today, but Black History Month began as Negro History Week in 1926. The start date, February 13, was chosen because it was between the birthdays of Frederick Douglass and Abraham Lincoln. They were two of the Civil Rights Movement’s earliest and most important agents.
8. 1976 – A Welcome Change
In 1976 in the United States, the week was extended to a month and rechristened as Black History Month. The then-president, Gerald Ford, said that the American people should, “seize the opportunity to honor the too-often neglected accomplishments of black Americans in every area of endeavor throughout our history.”
7. Meet Stephanie Johnson
Stephanie Johnson had already made history on her own with the airlines once before. She is a full-qualified pilot and ranks as Captain of a plane. She was the very first black female pilot with a commercial airline in the United States and has been flying for more than 20 years.
6. How She Started
Stephanie told Delta’s in-house news team “There were no pilots in my life growing up, and I think I’m the first person in my family to graduate from college. But for as long as I can remember, I have been fascinated with airplanes and would think, “What a great thing it would be to know how to fly.”
5. She Did It
Stephanie studied at Kent State University and qualified as a flying instructor. She was hired as America’s first African-American female pilot by Northwest Airlines in 1997. She’s been flying ever since. She says at one time she knew the name of every black pilot in the country, but today there are far too many to count.
4. First Officer Dawn Cook
First Officer Dawn Cook also works for Delta, and she’s been flying with the airline for quite some time now. It wasn’t until a few weeks ago that she suddenly realized that she had her own opportunity to make history. So she contacted Stephanie Johnson to see if she’d help.
3. A Long Way In A Short Time
What First Officer Dawn Cook had realized was that while there were now plenty of black women flying planes, no commercial flight in the United States had had an entirely black female crew on its flight deck. This might have been something that would have happened eventually, but she took matters into her own hands.
2. Stephanie Said Yes
Stephanie agreed to fly out of Detroit with Dawn as her co-pilot and between the two of them, they made national history. This was the first ever Delta mainline to feature an African-American flight crew, Stephanie and Dawn had beaten the boys to the prize, and deservedly so.
1. Family Pride
Both pilots’ families were ecstatic about the news of Stephanie and Dawn entering the history books. Dawn Cook’s brother said on Facebook, “We love you and are so proud! Keep climbing to the highest heights!” and a former flight attendant added, “As a former Flight Attendant who flew when there were very few women pilots, I applaud this. How awesome.”
So there you have it. The incredible story of Dawn Cook and Stephanie Johnson. These two ladies achieved something that means they will be forever remembered as contributing towards the progress of equality.
Of course, some might say that in 2017, that it’s a little late for this to be taking place and they might be right, too. But that shouldn’t take anything away from Dawn and Stephanie, should it?
What milestones do you think we will see breached next in the search for equality? Why not tell us about anything you’ve achieved for equality in the comments below?