Burlington County Times: “Fly! Bessie! Fly!” lands at Medford Leas

published by Rebecca Carlbon on November 1, 2016

Medford Leas Forum will present “Fly! Bessie! Fly!,” the story of Bessie Coleman performed by Dr. Daisy Century on Nov.12 at 11 a.m.

Coleman, who in 1921, became the first African American woman to earn a pilot’s license, was not a person who let other people define her limitations, so she traveled to France to learn to fly when American flight schools refused her because of her race.

In later years she shared her experiences with children, encouraging them with the words, “You too can fly.”

Century earned a bachelor’s degree in biology at Claflin College, a master’s in science education from South Carolina University and a PhD from Temple University, also in science education. She is a teacher and actor and combines scientific methods with creative imagination in order to discover how the historical characters she interprets would respond to a given situation.

Century is also a published author, writing under the name Emily Nelson, and is an accomplished singer. She contacted the American Historical Theatre (AHT) and auditioned for AHT founders Pamela and William Sommerfield in 1999. Since then, she has appeared in venues that include the National Defense Organization, Belmont Mansion, National Archives, Sojourner Truth House, Theodore Roosevelt National Historic Site, the Helicopter Museum and numerous sites throughout New Jersey.

Century’s performance in “Fly! Bessie! Fly!” is at Medford Leas Theater, One Medford Leas Way. The program is free and open to the public. The program is funded by the Horizons Speakers Bureau of the New Jersey Council for the Humanities, a state partner of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

The American Historical Theatre is a nonprofit organization specializing in first-person living history presentations.

For more information about this event, contact Dorothy M. Cebula at or 609-654-3000 For more information about the Horizons Speakers Bureau, please visit the website

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