James Herman Banning was one of the first African American pilots. Born in 1900 in Oklahoma, he learned to fly from an army aviator after being repeatedly turned away from flight schools due to his race. He later became a demonstration pilot on the west coast, flying a biplane named "Miss Ames" (named after Ames, Iowa, where he attended college at Iowa State)
Banning was killed in a plane crash during an air show in San Diego in 1933. He was a passenger in a biplane flown by a navy pilot, which stalled and entered an unrecoverable spin.