“A Historic Step into Outer Space”
Leavy, Walter. “A Historic Step into Outer Space,” Ebony, no. 11 (1983): 162–64, 166, 168, 170.
Guion Bluford was the first Black American into space, one of five crew members on the 1983 flight of the space shuttle Challenger. To celebrate this historic liftoff, NASA invited two planeloads of officials from Washington D.C. including Congressional Black Caucus members. Bluford’s family were devoted Christian Scientists, spending their evenings studying Christian Science together. When he attended Penn State University, he was a member of its Christian Science university organization. After earning his aerospace engineering degree, he joined the Air Force and flew 144 combat missions in Vietnam. He then earned a doctor of philosophy in aerospace engineering from the Air Force Institute of Technology, which led to his candidacy as an astronaut and training at the Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center. Bluford had a strong work ethic taught to him by his parents and extended family—most of whom were educated professionals. One NASA official said: “As a role model, you couldn’t ask for a better person” (170).
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