Magnetic #4 Buzz

The progress of civilization is not wholly a uniform drift towards better things. It may perhaps wear this aspect if we map it on a scale which is large enough. But such broad views obscure the details on which rests our whole understanding of the process. -Alfred North Whitehead, 1925

Cezanne / Gertrude Stein, 1923

  • William James, philosopher, 1842 - 1910
  • Alfred North Whitehead, mathematician, 1861 - 1947
  • Gertrude Stein, writer, 1874 - 1946
  • Bessie Coleman, aviator, 1892 - 1926

from The Meaning of Truth/ William James, 1925

In 1921, Bessie Coleman was the first African American woman to become a civil aviator.

Sources: NYPL Digital Image Collection; text is quoted or paraphrased from Queen Bess Daredevil Aviator by Doris Rich; additionally; and
We must have aviators if we are to keep up with the times. I shall never be satisfied until we have men of the Race who can fly. Do you know you have never lived until you have flown? - Bessie Coleman, 1921
Bessie Coleman's pilot license portrait

"When a reporter from the Chicago Herald offered to do a story on her if she agreed to pass as white, she took her mother and niece along with her for the interview. She was laughing as they walked into the reporter's office. Pointing to Susan and Marion, who were dark-skinned, she said,

"This is my mother and this is my niece. And you want me to pass?"

- Doris Rich, Queen Bess, Daredevil Aviator

from Composition as Explanation / Gertrude Stein, 1926

continuing from The Meaning of Truth/ William James, 1925

"Because of Bessie Coleman we have overcome that which was worse than racial barriers. We have overcome the barriers within ourselves and dared to dream". -Lieutenant William J. Powell, 1934

Powell's book "Black Wings" was dedicated to Coleman.

from Science and the Modern World/ Alfred North Whitehead, 1925

from Patriarchal Poetry/ Gertrude Stein, 1927

The new mentality is more important even than the new science and the new technology. It has altered the metaphysical presuppositions and the imaginative contents of our minds. -Alfred North Whitehead, 1925
Bessie Coleman with her plane. In 1927, the New York News called Coleman the "black Joan of Arc."
The way to find this out find it find it out is to do likewise. -Gertrude Stein

This work is assembled from licensed Adobe Stock, public domain images and documents, and the texts listed below.

  1. Science and the World, Alfred North Whitehead, Free Press (August 1, 1997)
  2. Stein: Writings 1903-1932, Library of America; 1st edition (March 1, 1998)
  3. William James, The Meaning of Truth,
  4. Doris L. Rich, Bessie Coleman Daredevil Aviator, Smithsonian Institution Press (May 17, 1993)
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