(Barren County, 1906-1992) In an era harsh for both women and African Americans, Willa Beatrice Brown Chappell sought great challenge. Influenced by aviatrix Bessie Coleman, in 1934 Brown began flight lessons at Chicago’s Aeronautical University. In 1937, she received both a master’s degree from Northwestern University and her pilot’s license, making her the first African American woman to be licensed to fly in the United States. In 1939, she received her commercial pilot’s license, making her the first African American woman to make a career of aviation and the person most responsible for preparing blacks for World War II. Brown became the first African American officer in the Civil Air Patrol in 1941, and the U.S. government named her federal coordinator of the Chicago Unit. She was the first woman in the U.S. to have both a mechanic’s license and a commercial pilot’s license. In 1942, she became a training coordinator for the Civil Aeronautics Administration and a teacher in the Civilian Pilot Training Program. Brown trained more than 2,000 black pilots, nearly 200 of which became the Squadron at Tuskegee Institute, better known as the legendary “Tuskegee Airmen.” In 2002, she was named one of the Women in Aviation’s 100 Most Influential Women in Aviation and Aerospace. In 2003, Willa Beatrice Brown was inducted into the Kentucky Aviation Hall of Fame at the Aviation Museum of Kentucky.