Johnson Kendal Johnson &

aarp pRESENT


Tammy Denise As Bessie Coleman

The first Black and Native American female pilot



On the 100th anniversary of Bessie earning her pilots license storyteller/actor Tammy Denease takes us on a journey into the world of the first Black and Native American female aviatrix. We will take an international voyage that begins in the segregated south of the United States, where the color of your skin could determine whether you lived or died and end in Paris, France, where self-determination — not skin color or gender — is what truly mattered.

 Tammy Denease (Tammy Denease/Hiddenwomen.org) was born in Columbus, Mississippi where she spent countless hours with her great-grandmother and grandmother. Her great-grandmother was a former enslaved person and lived to be 125 and her grandmother lived to be a 100. Both were known storytellers and passed this gift along to their granddaughter. 

Tammy loves history and being able to tell others about the past. In her position of Museum Educator, she instructs children through stories of Colonial History, Health, Medicine, Slavery and Native American History. In addition, she is a historical tour guide for local Colonial-American homes. When Tammy is not teaching, she is a playwright, Director and a Diversity Trainer for an International organization.