Little Known Black History Fact: Ed Dwight Jr., First Black Astronaut Candidate

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    Ed Dwight Jr. was the first African American astronaut candidate for what is now NASA. Dwight joined the air force in 1953 as a test pilot. After earning his aeronautical engineering degree, Dwight was referred to President John F. Kennedy as a space candidate by Whitney Young Jr.  In 1962, Dwight was entered into the U.S. astronaut training program as an experimental test pilot in preparation to become the first African American astronaut candidate.

    Dwight’s training as a space candidate was full of racism. His then Supervisor, Col. Chuck Yeager, urged him to quit. Days after President Kennedy’s assassination, Dwight was dropped from the program and sent to Germany to work as a liaison for a non-existent German test pilot school. He was later court marshaled after refusing to fly his plane when he had heard that it was made unsafe – purposely.

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    3 thoughts on “Little Known Black History Fact: Ed Dwight Jr., First Black Astronaut Candidate

    1. I heard the Ed Dwight story a bit differently. He had originally failed out of the Space School, but the White House insisted that the first graduation class have at least one black man. So Dwight was given tutoring for several months, but still failed out. That’s when he sued on account of discrimination. Yeager showed the NAACP lawyers Dwights test scores, and that was it for his discrimination case. So, which is true?

    2. I wish someone will remove the Kia add off the page . Everytime I went to read an article that krappy Kia add is blocking half of the article. Please some one.

    3. I understand how career racism is done in the American work place. I too as a strong Black man get the same treatment on the job. We come thru when needed but never get the credit or the promotion. Just look at the President.

      John Perry

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