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Meet the First Known Black Woman With a Disability to Earn A Pilot's License

Leslie Irby has sealed her place in history by being the first Black woman with a disability to secure a pilot’s license. According to Because Of Them We Can , Irby was involved in a head-on car accident — in 2013 — that left her paralyzed. “After waking up from surgery, doctors informed me and my family that I had sustained an L3 spinal cord injury. I started rehab at Shepherd Center, in Atlanta. The first day I was told I would be in a wheelchair, the therapist came in my room and I asked, ‘Do you all have a pink one I can borrow?’ They all laughed, but I knew this wasn’t going to be bad, this was going to be a new start, so why not be myself through it!” she told BOTWC. Determined to not let her wheelchair stop her from pursuing her lifelong dream of becoming a pilot like Bessie Coleman , Irby continued to follow the dream of flying that was cultivated when she was 16-years-old. “I started flying when I was 16 at my local airport here in Atlanta. There is a program operated...

Devin Crudup

Mar 19, 2020