Janet Harmon Bragg is not a common household name but most of us can experience the essence of her story.
Mrs. Bragg was born in 1907 in Atlanta and was raised to believe “if Jack can do it, Jill can do it, too.” Mrs. Bragg received a nursing degree from Spelman, moved to Chicago, and became a nursing supervisor and then a health inspector. But, in the then home of Black Aviation (Chicago), Mrs. Bragg yearned to fly.
She did all the right things. She was the first Black woman enrolled in a grounds school of flying, earned two pilots’ licenses and purchased a plan, but was denied entry as a WW II Women’s Auxiliary Service pilot because of her race.
Despite her disappointment, Mrs. Bragg earned a commercial flying license. She denied the opportunity to fly commercially because, at that time, those paid opportunities did not exist for African-American pilots.
All the right credentials and experiences couldn’t get her to make a living soaring through the air. Seemingly, her dream and passion were grounded.
Later, an opportunity arose for Mrs. Bragg to purchase an apartment building that she converted into a recovery home for patients receiving public assistance. Another opportunity came and she went on to provide nursing care in a 22 room mansion that also housed students visiting from Ethiopia.
In 1955, the nurse by trade and the pilot by passion was a three-month personal guest of Ethiopian Emperor Haile Selassie.
While Mrs. Bragg may have dreamed to be in the clouds, her story shows that with coming through disappointment, opportunities and untapped talents can travel and form in emotional and physical places never before imagined. While her physical plane was grounded, Mrs. Bragg allowed other dreams to soar.
Opportunities can bring forth multiples dreams.
In “Dreams,” Langston Hughes wrote:
Hold fast to dreams
For if dreams die
Life is a broken-winged bird
That cannot fly.
Hold fast to dreams
For when dreams go
Life is a barren field
Frozen with snow.
Call our to your DreamS, not Dream. Keep Soaring!Learn More
In my professional and personal opinion, New Year Resolutions stink. What does one resolve, anyway? I know I won’t gain any new age, spiritually balanced friends when I poo-poo the desire to awaken the inner me by striving to reach new heights through carefully constructed goals usually listed in some downloaded app.
In my experience, my resolutions are my rehashed and tweaked attempts at having a New Life and call it, Me 2.0. Here’s my secret: after 22 1/2 or so attempts, I haven’t met Me 2.0. I’m still in my original packaging. On January 1, I’m determined to dress this package in pretty bows, but by by mid February, the bows wilt and I start my journey of self acceptance (read: the lies I tell myself to justify giving up my goals).
What’s going to be new this year? Instead of action plans and buddy systems, I’m going to try my hand at CONSISTENCY and OWNERSHIP. I think that’s really at the center of what makes my goal a success or failure. Consistently own that I have things I would like to address and regardless if it’s a new year, new month or new day, I have to consistently own and grow from what I SAY is important to I MUST DO what is important.Learn More