Feature Heritage Months Women’s History Month

Amelia Earhart’s Influence

article by Mia Michel

Amelia Earhart is best known for attempting to be the first woman to fly around the world. She was also the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic in 1932, and the first woman to fly solo nonstop around the United States. On Amelia’s 1937 attempt around the world, she disappeared somewhere over the Pacific. Her wreck sight was never found, and she was declared lost at sea. Amelia’s disappearance is one of the best unsolved mysteries of the century.

Amelia Earhart was born in Atchison, Kansas on July 24, 1897. Growing up she was an energetic, adventurous, and spirited child who was never really confined by the gender roles of society. She played basketball as a kid, climbed trees, took an auto repair course, and attended college for a short time. Amelia believed in doing what you want no matter what doubts and obstacles are in your way.

During World War One, she served as a Red Cross nurse’s aid in Canada. After the war, she enrolled the Columbia University in New York as a pre-med student. She first flew in an airplane in California in December 1920 with Frank Hawks.  After that initial flight, Amelia became obsessed with aviation. She started flying lessons with Neta Snook in January 1921, and later that year purchased a second hand Kinner Airster plane. Amelia set numerous aviation records in her time that inspired young women, but the best known attempt was her flight around the world. June 1, 1987, Amelia took off for an eastbound flight around the world accompanied by navigator Fred Noonan, this was her second attempt. Amelia Earhart and her navigator disappeared, July 2 was the last time they were seen alive.

One of the main questions is why? There are many theories but none have been proven so far. The most popular theory is that they simply ran out of gas and crashed, but others believe there is a more complicated answer. There were some artifacts found on an island a little off course that suggest Amelia and her navigator washed up on it as castaways. They could have survived days or even weeks, researchers have found a woman’s shoe from the 1930s, improvised tools, and bones that appear to be part of a human finger.

Amelia did not accomplish her goal, nevertheless, she inspired many young women not to be confined into society’s idea of how they are supposed to act and what goals they are supposed to set for themselves. Amelia’s actions encouraged many to not just dream, but take risks no matter the cost.

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