Winged Victory

"All those who see me, and all who believe in me, share in the freedom I feel when I fly."

Book Brief-ings by Julie Welch

Soaring Above Setbacks: The Autobiography of Janet Harmon Bragg, African American Aviator
Janet Harmon Bragg as told to Marjorie M. Kriz
Smithsonian Press
Reissued 1997

During the 1920s and 1930s, women aviators were breaking boundaries and breaking records. Mostly white, they faced enough obstacles of their own. But for women of color, the task was that much more difficult, and yet they accomplished it. Bessie Coleman is the most famous black woman aviator - the first black to get a pilot's license, and unfortunately, the first to die in an air accident (while a passenger.)

Janet Harmon Bragg deserves as much fame as Coleman. She defied the odds by pioneering aviation firsts and by establishing the National Airmen?s Association of America in 1939 after being excluded from joining the Federal Civilian Pilot Training program.

Before establishing the National Airmen?s Association of America, Janet Harmon Bragg received her pilot?s license after attending the Aeronautical University of Chicago. During a time when it was extremely difficult for women to fly, and especially for African American women, Janet followed her dream and accomplished her goals.

The message that the author successfully portrays throughout this book is that it is possible "to make do when dont's want to prevail." (Quote by Johnnetta Cole in the foreward)

Kriz's style is straight forward and easy to read, allowing the true voice of Janet Harmon Bragg to shine through. The book also contains multiple photographs which aid in placing the context of the book within the time era of aviation events.

Here are a few of the intriguing notes about the life of Janet Harmon Bragg:

-Her determination to raise the money to rent planes for practice; a huge feat during these times
-Her many trips to Ethiopia
- Her support of African American pilots and students
- Her numerous honors and accolades such as: the Bishop Wright Air Industry Award, her interview for the Black Wings exhibit with the Smithsonian and her many invitations to speak all over the country

The personal account of Janet Harmon Bragg?s life is inspiring not only for African American women but for women looking to overcome obstacles in their lives. She is a true icon to inspire the modern woman.

Table of Contents

Becoming Janet
Moving North
Aviation comes to Black Chicago
The Civilian Pilot Training Program
I Go To Tuskegee
Nursing Homes
African Students
I Go to Ethiopia
More Students and Travels
New Honors

All text © 2006 - 2008 Volcano Seven unless otherwise credited.
All illustrations retain original copyright.
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