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American Flygirl: A Virtual Author Talk with Susan Ankeny

Wednesday, May 29 @ 7:00 pm - 8:00 pm

A uniquely hidden figure,  Hazel Ying Lee was a pioneering trailblazer in aviation history—yet her inspiring story and extraordinary accomplishments have been unheralded and ignored.

American Flygirl breaks this silence, illuminating the structural and racial barriers Lee faced to become the first Asian American woman to earn a pilot’s license, join the WASPs, and fight for this country amid widespread anti-Asian sentiment and racist policies such as the Chinese Exclusion Act and Japanese internment camps.

As she witnessed the beginnings of women challenging conventional roles, with some becoming pilots and exploring new opportunities in aviation, a fire was lit in Hazel that would change the course of her life.

In less than a year, the young woman with a wicked sense of humor, a newfound love of flying, and a tough can-do attitude would earn her pilot’s license and head to China to help against invading Japanese forces. Upon returning to the US, she would go on to become the first Asian American to fly with the Women Airforce Service Pilots, an exclusive division made up of highly experienced civilian volunteers, and pioneers who tested the newest fighter jets and trained other pilots.

In service to her country, Hazel refused to be limited by gender, race, and impossible dreams.  

Her life serves as a beacon for women everywhere who have been confronted by racism and sexism.  Join us to learn more of Lee’s unforgettable story!

Registration is required to receive the Zoom link.

Author Susan Tate Ankeny

Susan Tate Ankeny is the author of nonfiction WWII history books, The Girl and the Bombardier.  A former educator, she is a member of the Oregon 8th Air Force Historical Society and the Association des Sauveteurs d’Aviateurs Alliés, which finds and memorializes WWII crash sites in France. The daughter of a WWII bombardier and great-granddaughter of Oregon pioneers, she lives in Portland, Oregon.  Learn more at her website.


The book’s release coincides with AAPI Heritage Month, which is observed throughout May to recognize the contributions and influence of Asian Americans and Pacific Islander Americans to the history, culture, and achievements of the United States.



Wednesday, May 29
7:00 pm - 8:00 pm
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