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John Bryan Gartrell

physicist, astronaut, and victim of the Challenger Space Shuttle disaster, was born in Lake City, South Carolina, the second of three children of Pearl McNair, an educator, and Carl McNair, a mechanic. Ronald McNair and his brothers, Carl Jr. and Eric, were raised to place great emphasis on education and achievement.

During the 1950s and 1960s segregation dictated all social practices in Lake City South Carolina McNair though did not allow the world around him to define his path At age three he began reading his mother s classroom books At age nine after exhausting his collection at home McNair staged a sit in at the whites only library refusing to leave until he was able to check out a book Among his schoolmates McNair was deemed the hardest worker and the smartest anything less than a perfect score on exams only fueled his drive ...