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You know Amelia Earhart. Now, meet the Michigan woman who opened the skies to female pilots.

Harriet Quimby in a plane
Library of Congress
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An archive photo of Harriet Quimby in her Blériot monoplane. "

A century ago, a Michigan woman soared above the patriarchy, flouting the restrictions placed on women in her era.

It was on this day in 1911, that Arcadia Township's Harriet Quimby became the first female pilot licensed in the nation, blazing the way for famous aviator Amelia Earhart.

Michigan History Center's Rachel Clark and the Henry Ford Museum of American Innovation's Curator of Transportation Matt Anderson spoke with Stateside about the trail-blazing aviator.

"She became interested in aviation the way a lot of folks did in the first years of the 20th century — by attending an airshow," Anderson said. "She had gone to Belmont Park in New York in October of 1910 and saw the Moisant family flying circus, and was just kind of captivated by the whole experience. And, being clever, she convinced her editors at Leslie's [Illustrated Weekly] to pay for her to get flying lessons, something like $750. And in exchange, she agreed to write about her experiences learning to fly and being a pilot as well."

Listen above and learn what obstacles Quimby faced while earning her license, how she made a name for herself in the aviation world, and more about her untimely death in 1912.

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