NASA and the Long Civil Rights Movement (Paperback)
Society Eugene M. Emme Astronautical Literature Award
NASA prepared for the launch of Apollo 11 in July 1969, many African American
leaders protested the billions of dollars used to fund "space joyrides" rather
than help tackle poverty, inequality, and discrimination at home. This volume
examines such tensions as well as the ways in which NASA's goal of space
exploration aligned with the cause of racial equality. It provides new insights
into the complex relationship between the space program and the civil rights
movement in the Jim Crow South and abroad.
explore how thousands of jobs created during the space race offered new
opportunities for minorities in places like Huntsville, Alabama, while at the
same time segregation at NASA's satellite tracking station in South Africa led
to that facility's closure. Other topics include black skepticism toward NASA's
framing of space exploration as "for the benefit of all mankind," NASA's track
record in hiring women and minorities, and the efforts of black activists to
increase minority access to education that would lead to greater participation
in the space program. The volume also addresses how to best find and preserve
archival evidence of African American contributions that are missing from
narratives of space exploration.
NASA and the Long Civil Rights Movement offers
important lessons from history as today's activists grapple with the distance
between social movements like Black Lives Matter and scientific ambitions such
as NASA's mission to Mars.
Contributors: P.J. Blount Jonathan Coopersmith Matthew
L. Downs Eric Fenrich Cathleen Lewis Cyrus Mody David S. Molina Brian
C. Odom Brenda Plummer Christina K. Roberts Keith Snedegar Stephen P.
Waring Margaret A. Weitekamp
Publication of the paperback edition made possible by a Sustaining
the Humanities through the American Rescue Plan grant from the National
Endowment for the Humanities.