"Women must try to do things as men have tried. When they fail, their failure must be but a challenge to others."

Amelia Earhart

by Radiyah Shakur

Amelia Earhart is known for her various aviation achievements, including being the first woman to fly across the Atlantic (1928), the second person to fly solo across the Atlantic (1932), and the first person to solo from Hawaii to California (1935).

Amelia EarhartAmelia Earhart was born in Atchison, Kansas on July 24, 1897. She was 10 years old when she saw her first plane at the Iowa State Fair; however, it was ten years later that her keen interest in aviation was sparked. During WWI Earhart worked as a nurse’s aid in Canada, taking her first flight in 1920. She was so thrilled that she quickly took flying lessons. Although Earhart's desires were strong, she had to battle prejudicial and financial obstacles. But the former tomboy was no stranger to criticism or doubt, constantly challenging conventional feminine behavior. She also kept a book of newspaper clippings about successful women in predominantly male-oriented fields, like film production, law, management, and mechanical engineering.

Earhart took her first flying lesson on January 3, 1921, and six months later bought her first plane. The second-hand, bright yellow two-seat plane assisted Amelia in setting her first women's record by rising to an altitude of 14,000 feet. In 1928, she received a life-changing phone call to join Wilmer Stultz and Louis E. Gordon to fly across the Atlantic. The team departed from Newfoundland and landed in South Wales twenty hours later. That flight made Amelia Earhart a media sensation.

In 1927, Charles Lindbergh became the first person to make a solo nonstop flight across the Atlantic, which Amelia aspired to do as well. In 1932, exactly five years after Lindbergh's flight, Earhart became the first woman to repeat the feat. Because her record-breaking career and physical appearance were similar to pioneering pilot and American hero Charles Lindbergh, she was nicknamed "Lady Lindy."

After breaking various records through the years, Earhart planned for a final and ultimate challenge. In June she went to Miami to begin her trip around the world with navigator Fred Noonan. The pair made it to New Guinea in 21 days. During the next leg of the trip, they departed New Guinea for Howland Island, in the Pacific Ocean. July 2, 1937, was the last time Earhart and Noonan communicated with a nearby Coast Guard ship. President Roosevelt authorized an immediate search; however, she was never seen or heard from again.


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