circa 1935: American aviator Amelia Earhart (1898 - 1937), the first woman to complete a solo transatlantic flight, waves as she emerges from the cockpit of a rotorcraft, Newark, New Jersey. (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
In June of 1932, New York went wild at the sight of the pretty young woman who had flown across the Atlantic solo. On lower Broadway, a blizzard of ticker tape rained down on the convertible carrying Amelia Earhart.
New Yorkers noted how much she resembled Charles Lindbergh, the famed “Lucky Lindy,” who had flown solo across the Atlantic in 1927. The crowds noted that she, like Lindbergh, was tall and slim with short, wind-swept hair.
The newspapers loved her. They nicknamed her “Lady Lindy” and hailed her as “Queen of the Air.” At City Hall New York’s playboy mayor, Jimmy Walker, congratulated her and praised her for forging a place for women in aviation history. New York embraced her as one of its own. That was the magic of the ticker tape parade -- it "New Yorkerized" all the people we honored. Actually, Earhart was born in Atchison, Kan., in 1897. She saw her first plane at a state fair when she was 10. At first she wasn’t impressed but, a few years later, when a pilot gave her a ride, it changed her life.
“By the time I had got two or three hundred feet off the ground, I knew I had to fly.”
She was a pioneer, the first woman to receive the U.S. Distinguished Flying Cross, for flying solo across the Atlantic Ocean. She set many records and wrote best-selling books. She helped organize the Ninety-nines, an organization for female pilots. She joined the faculty of Purdue University, where she advised women on careers. And, early on, she supported the Equal Rights Amendment.