Jerrie Mock was the first woman to fly solo around the world.
At the time she didn’t get the recognition she deserved, but she’s getting her recognition now, along with a statue to claim her place in Columbus’ history.
50 years to the day since Jerrie Mock made her mark on world history, relatives and local dignitaries unveiled this statue at Port Columbus commemorating her feat. She is holding the world in her hands and is in her trademark sweater set and skirt. She can be found prominently on display in the main concourse.
Mock became the first woman to fly solo around the world in a tiny single-engine plane, dubbed the Spirit of Columbus.
Mock’s sister, Susan Reed said, “This is just the most thrilling thing, Jerrie deserved this credit a long time ago. Everyone knows about Amelia because she got lost, now they're going to learn about Jerrie who made it.”
She was referring to Amelia Earhart, the famous aviator who tried unsuccessfully to fly around the world 27 years earlier. Earhart flew with a co-pilot they disappeared somewhere in the pacific. Jerrie Mock flew alone. Thousands turned out to cheer mock upon her return to Port Columbus, but the spotlight gradually faded. The arrival of the Beatles in 1964, along with the assassination of President Kennedy and then the escalating Viet Nam war, distracted America's attention.
Columbus Foundation’s Doug Kridler said, “So it was nearly impossible to fight through the competing stories and the emotions of the time to establish her story, but we are here to rectify that.”
At age 88, Jerrie Mock lives in retirement in Quincy, Florida. Famously shy, Mock decided not to come to the reveal, but sent a message, “Columbus is a great community and I appreciate all that you are doing to respect its history, and to bring an even better future. Long live spirit of Columbus.”
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