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Amelia Earhart

Amelia Earhart
Watercolor on 9″ x 12″ watercolor paper
The latest addition to the ‘She Changed the World’ Collection!

The legend of Amelia Earhart (1897-1939(?)) often eclipses her monumental accomplishments. Born in Atchison, Kansas, young Amelia found herself more interested in basketball and auto repair than the traditional gender roles of the time. During the First World War she served as a Red Cross nurse’s aid and became enamored with watching the Royal Flying Corps. After the War and a brief time in college she took her first plane ride in 1920 and found herself hooked. She soon went through flying lessons and by the end of the year passed her flight test and had bought her first airplane.

In 1922 Earhart became the first woman to fly solo above 14,000 feet and in 1932 the first woman and second person ever to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean, which earned her Congress’ Distinguished Flying Cross. She is the first woman to receive this honor. Later that year she was the first woman to fly nonstop across the United States, from Los Angeles to Newark, NJ in 19 hours. In 1935 she was the first person ever to fly solo from Hawaii to the United States mainland.

In 1929 Amelia co-founded the Ninety-Nines, an organization for the advancement of female pilots and served as the group’s first president. The organization still exists today and has licensed lady pilots from 44 countries as members.

On June 1, 1937 Amelia Earhart and navigator Fred Noonan set off from Oakland, California with the intent of her becoming the first pilot to circumnavigate the world around the equator. Their path took them to Miami, down to South America, across the Atlantic to Africa, then on to India and Southeast Asia and on June 29th landed in New Guinea. They left for their next stop and were never seen again. Theories abound of a crash in the ocean, of being off-track and landing on the wrong island, of being captured by the Japanese. To this day no one knows for sure.

The legend of Amelia Earhart has become what she is best known and remembered for. But really, instead of focusing on what she ultimately did NOT do, look at what all she DID do. She broke the barriers, she flew tens of thousands of feet above any glass ceilings and helped start and organization that still does that for women around the world. That’s her real legacy.

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