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A Celebration of African Americans at NASA

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Earth and Space Sciences +4 Age Levels Elementary (9 to 12 years old), Middle School (13 to 15 years old), High School (16 to 18 years old)

The National Museum of African American History and Culture welcomes you to learn about African American STEM contributions at NASA. The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) became an official government agency in 1958, born from its predecessor, the National Advisory Council for Aeronautics (NACA).

In 1961, NASA selected its first African American astronaut candidate by the name of Edward Dwight Jr. Although he never flew in space, his selection as an astronaut candidate was a public display to integrate the space agency. Until then, NASA only had white male astronauts flying even though African American scientists, mathematicians, and engineers had been working for the agency for more than a decade.

Finally in 1981, Guion Bluford became the first African American to fly in space. Since then African Americans have continued to fill positions at NASA and make their contributions in space, from behind a desk, and in the laboratory.

This Learning Lab celebrates these individuals, their bravery, their exploratory spirit, and their desires to express themselves fully through their commitment to space exploration.

This is a celebration of them all.


Keywords: NASA, NMAAHC, NASM,  Astronaut, African American, Scientist, Engineer, Mathematician, Technology, Space, Space Travel

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NMAAHC Education

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Christopher Williams

1940s

Christopher Williams

Dorothy Vaughan

Christopher Williams

1950s

Christopher Williams

Mary Jackson

Christopher Williams

Katherine Johnson

Christopher Williams

1960s

Christopher Williams

Edward Dwight Jr.

Christopher Williams

Robert Henry Lawrence Jr.

Christopher Williams

1970s

Christopher Williams

George Carruthers

Christopher Williams

Guion Bluford

Christopher Williams

Ronald McNair

Christopher Williams

Frederick Gregory

Christopher Williams

1980s

Christopher Williams

Charles Bolden

Christopher Williams

Livingston L. Holder Jr.

Christopher Williams

Mae Jemison

Christopher Williams

Michael E. Belt

Christopher Williams

Vanessa Wyche

Christopher Williams

1990s

Christopher Williams

Bernard A. Harris Jr.

Christopher Williams

Winston E. Scott

Christopher Williams

Robert Curbeam

Christopher Williams

Michael P. Anderson

Christopher Williams

Stephanie Wilson

Christopher Williams

James Marshall Shepherd

Christopher Williams

Aprille Ericsson

Christopher Williams

Joan Higginbotham

Christopher Williams

Leland Melvin

Christopher Williams

Yvonne Cagle

Christopher Williams

2000s

Christopher Williams

Benjamin Alvin Drew Jr.

Christopher Williams

Robert Satcher

Christopher Williams

Jeanette J. Epps

Christopher Williams

Victor J. Glover

Christopher Williams

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NMAAHC Education