"Autograph first edition" of the pioneering African-American aviator's fictionalized autobiography, signed by Powell on the dedication leaf.
"This book is written to stimulate interest among Negroes in a new industry, aviation, which is destined to become the most gigantic of all industries, though still in its pioneer stages."
World War-I veteran Powell was fascinated by flight, and soon became one of aviation's most important Black advocates. He organized the first African-American flight show, created a movie about a young aviator, started a flight school and a monthly aviation journal, and wrote this "novel" (really a veiled memoir) about a young man learning to fly – all with the goal to encourage African Americans to participate in the new industry, which he believed had nearly limitless potential. The book is dedicated "to the memory of Bessie Coleman, the first Negro to fly an aeroplane successfully, who, although possessed of all the feminine charms that man admires in the opposite sex, also displayed courage equal to that of the most daring men." A wonderful book of optimism and vision before the founding of the Tuskegee Airmen.
Los Angeles: Ivan Deach, Jr, 1934. 9'' x 6''. Original full gilt-stamped black cloth. Frontispiece halftone portrait of Bessie Coleman, with photographic halftones as full pages and in-text vignettes throughout. XIV, 15-218 pages. Signed by Powell in red pencil on dedication leaf. Advertising leaf for BLACK WINGS tipped onto front endpaper. A bit of spotting to rear board, offsetting to front endpaper: remarkably clean and fresh.
Very nearly fine.
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