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Fri, 04.20.1906

Marie Dickerson Corker, Aviator, and Dancer born

Marie Dickerson Corker

*Marie Dickerson Coker was born on this date in 1906. She was a Black singer, dancer, airplane Stunt Pilot, musician, and showgirl.

From Muskogee, Oklahoma, the fifth of seven children to Sarah Ragsdale and a father surnamed Jones. After she was, widowed, Marie's mother left Muskogee for Los Angeles, California, along with Marie and some of her siblings, where they settled in a vibrant, multiracial neighborhood in East Los Angeles. When Marie's mother married David Austin, a former guitarist for the singer Sissieretta Jones in 1910, Marie took her stepfather's surname, Austin.

Coker attended and graduated from Central High School in Los Angeles and was the first in her immediate family to attain a high school diploma. She was a precocious child particularly ...Coker moved to Hollywood to sing, dance, and play the piano and bass.

While performing in a Culver City club in the 1920s, she met two Black aviators who promised to take her up in their plane. She loved it so much that she decided to learn to fly herself. One of America’s first Black female pilots, Coker joined the Blackbyrds, L.A.’s circuit of air circuses in which performers thrilled crowds with daredevil stunts. Coker died on January 19, 1993.

To become a Pilot

New Poem Each Day

Poetry Corner

*A good man is hard to find; you always get the other kind. Just when you think that he is your pal You look for him fooling ‘round some other gal. Then... A GOOD MAN IS HARD TO FIND by Alberta Hunter.
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