I have to admit, I enjoy courses in principle but in practice I am a bit of a procrastinator. I have been wanting to start DS106 since before Christmas but have always managed to find excuses to avoid so today I sat down and decided to complete my first assignment!
I started to browse through the assignments with a certain amount of dread growing inside me. They weren’t the sort of things I’d imagined them to be, I guess I imagined it was going to look like a photography course in my head but in DS106 it looks like this is about using all kinds of media to tell stories. I got it now and with head adjusted I decided to go for the Phake Tweet assignment.
As soon as I tried to think of someone famous my mind went blank. So I turned to the oracle (that’s google to you) and decided to search for famous people in history, not american, who were black women. Why? Because I wanted to find someone who wasn’t as well-known as Bob Marley or Muhammed Ali. Don’t get me wrong I love those guys but I wanted someone who was not so easily accessible or talked about. I finally gave up on them not being American, not because they don’t exist, google was just giving me lists and lists of Americans and I didn’t want to spend a long time choosing someone. Scanning through a list I came across a woman named Bessie Coleman.
I chose her because I’ve never heard of her and I like the name Bessie (scientific I know). Turns out that this incredible woman born in 1892 was not only the first African-american woman to get a pilot’s license ( and she had to got to France to do that) but was also the first american to get an international pilots license. All her life she refused to live by limits imposed on her by others and even when she got knocked down (refusals from schools in america and europe, plane crash, breaking a film contract with a studio because she would not be stereotyped) she didn’t give up she got back up and found a way. She even against all odds established a flying school for young black aviators. A truly inspirational woman who has an amazing story. So thank you DS106 for that assignment I never would have found her if it wasn’t for a Phake Tweet.
I decided to go with September 3rd 1922. She made her first appearance in an American airshow held at Curtiss Field on Long Island near New York City. The event sponsored by her friend Abbott and the Chicago Defender newspaper was to honor veterans of the all-black 369th Infantry Regiment of World War I. The show billed Coleman as “the world’s greatest woman flier”.
I decided to make the tweet a serious one as she didn’t strike me as the kind of woman who would be flippant about such an event. I did look for quotes or interviews from her but didn’t find any in the few hours I looked. It is noted however that she would refuse to perform at events that did not allow african-americans to attend and when she signed up to take a film role ( to earn money to launch her school) she broke her contract and left the set when she realized that the role she was given was a sterotyped role. This move almost ruined her career. So with that in mind I tried to create a tweet that would match what I knew of her.
My Phake Tweet can be found here.