It’s Black History Month and we are all about celebrating pioneers, activists, visionaries, entrepreneurs and leaders who have worked hard to push the African American community forward with their contributions.
Today’s Black History Month Person of Distinction is Dr. Mae C. Jemison, the first African-American female astronaut. In 1992, she flew into space aboard the Endeavour, becoming the first African-American woman in space.
Mae C. Jemison was born on October 17, 1956, in Decatur, Alabama. On June 4, 1987, she became the first African-American woman to be admitted into the astronaut training program. On September 12, 1992, Jemison finally flew into space with six other astronauts aboard the Endeavour on mission STS47, becoming the first African-American woman in space. In recognition of her accomplishments, Jemison has received several awards and honorary doctorates.
When Jemison was chosen on June 4, 1987, she became the first African-American woman to be admitted into the astronaut training program. After more than a year of training, she became the first African-American female astronaut, earning the title of science mission specialist—a job that would make her responsible for conducting crew-related scientific experiments on the space shuttle.
When Jemison finally flew into space on September 12, 1992, with six other astronauts aboard the Endeavour on mission STS47, she became the first African-American woman in space. During her eight days in space, she conducted experiments on weightlessness and motion sickness on the crew and herself. In all, she spent more than 190 hours in space before returning to Earth on September 20, 1992. Following her historic flight, Jemison noted that society should recognize how much both women and members of other minority groups can contribute if given the opportunity.
After leaving the astronaut corps in March 1993, Jemison accepted a teaching fellowship at Dartmouth. She also established the Jemison Group, a company that seeks to research, develop and market advanced technologies.
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