Azellia White, one of the nation’s first African American female pilots, earned her pilot’s license just after World War II and found freedom flying in the skies above the Jim Crow South.

“She says you just felt free up there, just free. There weren’t any racial barriers or things like that when you’re in the skies,” her great-niece, Emeldia Bailey, told CNN affiliate KTRK.

White died of “natural causes” September 14, Bailey told CNN. She was 106. Her funeral was held September 21, and she was buried in a cemetery just outside Houston.

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