I, Amelia Mary Earhart am an important person in history. I have broke boundaries between men and women and created equals between us. I believe “Women must try to do things as men have tried. When they fail, their failure must be but a challenge to others.” I also empowered women all around the world to do the same. I erased standards and was one of the first revolutionizers for women and the 19th Century. People, even in the 20th Century still know my name because of my accomplishments and hard work. Let me tell how I came to be and how I have grown.
I was born on July 24, 1897. I lived with my grandparents in Atcheson, Kansas, until I was 12. I spent my summers in Kansas City, Missouri, with my father who worked for the Rock Island Railroad. In 1909, my sister and I went to live with my parents in Des Moines, Iowa, where the railroad had moved my father. Meanwhile, my father was fighting a battle against alcoholism. His failure caused me a lifelong dislike of alcohol and want for financial security. My mom left Dad in Springfield in 1914, taking me and my sister with me to live with friends in Chicago, Illinois. During Christmas vacation, I went to Toronto to visit my sister where she was attending school. In Toronto, I saw my first amputee returning from World War. I refused to return to school but instead became a volunteer nurse. From Toronto, I went to live with my mother and sister in Northampton, Massachusetts, where my sister was attending Smith College. In the fall of 1919, I entered Columbia University but left after one year to join my parents, who had gotten back together and were living in Los Angeles, California.
In December 1920, I attended an air show in Long Beach, California. It was a brief plane ride, but that flight transformed my life. “By the time I had got two or three hundred feet off the ground, I knew I had to fly,” I said. Accomplishing a diversity of jobs including photographer and truck driver I managed to collect enough money for flying lessons. I had my first lesson on January 3, 1921, at Kinner Field near Long Beach. I was trained by pioneer female aviator Anita ‘Neta’ Snook. I engaged myself in mastering to fly. I read anything I could get on flying and spent most of my time at the airfield. Just six months after I started flying lessons, I bought I first plane. It was a brilliant yellow, a second-hand biplane that I named The Canary. “Flying may not be all plain sailing, but the fun of it is worth the price.”
Promoters sought a woman to fly across the Atlantic Ocean, I was selected for the flight. On June 17, 1928, I departed Newfoundland Canada, as a passenger aboard a plane piloted by Wilmer Stultz and Louis Gordon. After landing at Wales, on June 18, I became a celebrity. I wrote about the flight in my book 20 Hrs. 40 Min. I and Palmer Putnam married in 1931. Determined to justify I could fly just as well by myself, I crossed the Atlantic alone on May 20–21, 1932. In addition to piloting, I was known for encouraging women to seek various opportunities, especially in the field of flying. In 1929 I helped found an organization of female pilots that later became known as the Ninety-Nines. I served as its first president. Also, I debuted a functional clothing line which was designed “for the woman who lives actively.” As I like to say “…now, and then, women should do for themselves what men have already done—occasionally what men have not done—thereby establishing themselves as persons, and perhaps
encouraging other women toward greater independence of thought and action. Some such consideration was a contributing reason for my wanting to do what I so much wanted to do.” In 1935, I made history with the first solo flight from Hawaii to California. I departed from Honolulu on January 11 and landed in Oakland the following day. I remember as I flew at night “The stars seemed near enough to touch and never before have I seen so many. I always believed the lure of flying is the lure of beauty, but I was sure of it that night.” Later that year I became the first person to fly solo from Los Angeles to Mexico City.
In 1937 I set out to fly around the world, with Fred Noonan as my navigator. June 1, we began our journey, departing from Miami. Over the following weeks, we made various refueling stops before reaching New Guinea on June 29. We departed on July 2, headed for Howland Island. The flight was expected to be arduous, especially since the tiny plane was difficult to locate. To help with navigation, two brightly lit U.S. ships were stationed to mark the route. I was also in radio contact with a U.S. Coast Guard near Howland. Late in the journey, I radioed that the plane was running out of fuel. About an hour later I announced, “We are running north and south.” That was the last transmission received from the coast guard. The plane was believed to have gone down some 100 miles from the island, and an extensive search was undertaken to find me and Noonan. However, on July 19, 1937, the operation was called off, and we were declared lost at sea. Throughout the trip, I had sent my husband various materials, including letter and diary entries. Where I and Noonan ended up no one knows.
I have traveled far more distances for women and activists then I have in miles. My hard work pushed me to great lengths to do something that’s I love and can excel at. My husband and family supported me through these times. And I also still puzzle researches to this day because of my mysterious disappearance. I grew from difficult home life to an exciting, adventures one. As I once said, “Adventure is worthwhile in itself.” I am an important person in history for inspiring many more people to revolutionize the world to what it is today.