Today in history- Aug 30, 1983- Guion “Guy” Bluford became the first African America to travel to space , 22 years after the first American traveled to space. This twenty plus year’s gap makes his accomplishment an important milestone in African American history. Born November 22,1942 with a mother for a teacher and an engineer for a father, Bluford was destined for success. Recognizing that 1942 is well before Brown vs. Board, their academic accomplishments, technically, were prior to school integration. Despite the obstacles to access and success for African Americans, his parents obtained higher level of education. With their examples and achievements you can only imagine their expectations for their children were high. They encouraged their children to strive for the best in life.
It seems as if Bluford did just that: receiving his bachelors of science at Pennsylvania State University in Aerospace Engineering and then going on to be a pilot for the air force and earning a Defense Service medal while serving in the Vietnam War. After the war, Bluford attained his Masters Degree in Aerospace Engineering, then his PhD in Aerospace Engineering with a minor in Laser Physics. Bluford then went on to join NASA in 1979 and four years later became the first African American in space as a mission specialist on the STS-8 flight of the Challenger Space Shuttle. His life and this accomplishment are truly worth being showcased today in history.