In the fourth episode of season six, Drunk History tells the story of trailblazing Americans like Bessie Coleman, the first African American female pilot, and the Little Rock Nine, who were involved in high school integration after the Brown v. Board of Education decision.
Co-hosts Lyric Lewis and Derek Waters begin the episode as they fly remote control airplanes in the back yard “for Bessie,” who starts the story as a talented manicurist in 1915 for Chicago’s most elite African American citizens. As she reads about WWI in the newspapers, Bessie takes an interest in piloting and decides to pursue a career in the sky despite the challenges for her as an African American woman.
I know what you’re wondering: Will she be allowed to fly in America (no!), will she have to go to France where it’s way less racist (yes!), will they still give her trouble for being a woman (they sure will!)? So many questions. For the answers and more, you know what to do!
Next up is Derek and Amber Ruffin with the story of the Little Rock Nine; nine teenage heroes of the fight for integration who managed to navigate the challenges of high school while showing Americans that separate is not equal.
It’s 1957 and Arkansas governor Orvil Fartbus threatens to fill the streets with violence if these heroic kids try to seek their education alongside white students. After two attempts to attend school the nine attract the attention of Dwight D. Eisenhower, who sends one thousand military troops to teach white people how to behave. There are twists and turns, and a graduation attended by Martin Luther King Jr.