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David De Clue

astronaut, was born Michael Phillip Anderson in Plattsburgh, New York, to Barbara and Andy “Bobby” Anderson. Because his father was a member of the United States Air Force, young Anderson moved regularly until the family settled in Spokane, Washington, in the 1960s. It was there that he attended public schools and became fascinated with America's space race. Michael would wear goggles when cutting lawns because he knew that he needed to protect his eyes in order to be an astronaut.

After high school Anderson went to the University of Washington, where in 1981 he received a bachelor of science degree in Physics and Astronomy, and then went to Creighton University, where he received a master of science degree in Physics in 1990 As an undergraduate he received pilot training at Vance Air Force Base in Oklahoma and as a postgraduate he piloted KC 130 and T 38 transport ...


Nick J. Sciullo

corporate executive, United States Air Force veteran, was born to Charles H. Bush, an administrator at Howard University, and his wife, Marie. Bush grew up in the Washington, D.C. neighborhood surrounding Howard University. He attended Banneker Junior High School in D.C. where he was an honor student, as well as the Capitol Page School, a special high school for youth acting as congressional and Supreme Court pages. Bush was appointed a page in 1954 at the age of fourteen, not long after the historic Brown v. Board of Education decision. Bush was the first African American Supreme Court page and also one of the first three African American students to attend the United States Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colorado. At the Air Force Academy he was a member of the debate team and rugby team, and served in student leadership as a squad commander.

Bush became the ...


Clement Alexander Price

Born in Washington, D.C., the son of a black army officer, Benjamin O. Davis, Sr., young Benjamin Davis attended school in Tuskegee, Alabama, and Cleveland, Ohio, and the University of Chicago, before entering the all‐white U.S. Military Academy at West Point, where the last African American had graduated in the 1880s. Davis graduated in 1936 (35th in a class of 276). His request for assignment to the Army Air Corps was refused because there were no black aviation units; instead, he was assigned to an all‐black infantry regiment and then to Tuskegee Institute as an instructor. In 1941, the War Department finally allowed blacks into the Air Corps, although in segregated units. Davis established a flight program at Tuskegee, and as a lieutenant colonel took command of the 99th Pursuit Squadron (the “Black Eagles”), the first black air unit.

In 1943 during World War II he led ...


Benjamin Oliver Davis, Jr., was the son of Elnora and Benjamin Oliver Davis, the first black general of the United States Army. After living on a number of military bases during his childhood, Davis entered a predominantly white high school in Cleveland, Ohio. He was elected president of his class and went on to attend Cleveland's Western Reserve University. He transferred to the University of Chicago but hoped to enroll in the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. At the time, the academy actively discouraged blacks from applying. With the help of black Chicago congressman Oscar DePriest, however, Davis took the entrance examinations and entered the academy in 1932.

At West Point Davis because he was black was subjected to a four year silencing campaign no one ate with him roomed with him answered his questions or spoke to him unless issuing an order He nonetheless graduated ...


Tanu T. Henry

was born Benjamin Oliver Davis Jr. in Washington, D.C., the son of the U.S. army's first black general, Benjamin O. Davis Sr., and his wife, Elnora Dickerson. Davis spent most of his childhood living on different military bases. By the time he entered high school, his family had settled in Cleveland, Ohio, where he attended a predominantly white school. At his high school, he began to prove his leadership ability, winning elections for class president. After high school, he enrolled in Cleveland's Case Western Reserve University and later the University of Chicago, before he was accepted in 1932, through the influence of the congressman Oscar DePriest, into the United States Military Academy at West Point.

At West Point, which discouraged black cadets from applying at the time, Davis faced a hostile environment and routine exclusion by his peers His classmates shunned him and only talked ...


Brian F. Neumann

U.S. Air Force general and commander of the Tuskegee Airmen. Born in Washington, D.C., Benjamin Oliver Davis Jr. was the son of Benjamin O. Davis Sr., the first African American general in American history, and first flew at the age of fourteen, developing a deep love of flying that defined his life and career.

After attending the University of Chicago, Davis entered the U.S. Military Academy at West Point in 1932. The last African American to graduate from the academy had done so in 1880, and Davis endured four years of isolation from his fellow cadets before graduating in 1936, thirty-fifth in a class of 276. Davis's request for assignment to the Army Air Corps was denied because there were no black aviation units. After marrying Agatha Scott Davis was assigned to the all black Twenty fourth Infantry Regiment the buffalo soldiers and served as ...


J. Deborah Johnson Sterrett

painter and sculptor, was born on a small farm just outside Kansas City, Kansas, the second of five children of Ed Dwight Sr., a professional baseball player with the Negro League's Kansas City Monarchs, and Georgia Baker, a devout Catholic, who took on the primary care of the children. The family moved into Kansas City when Dwight was ten years old and his mother opened a restaurant. The children worked alongside her. Dwight was a precocious child who displayed his artistic talent from age two, drawing cartoon characters and painting throughout his childhood. He began making signs for his mother's restaurant. When he was fourteen years old, he opened his first lucrative business, a sign shop that served retail establishments and area churches.

Dwight attended Catholic schools and graduated from Bishop Ward High School in 1951, and he joined the air force in 1953. In 1955 ...


Flint Whitlock

the first African American commercial passenger airline pilot, was born in El Dorado, Arkansas, the son of McKinley Green, a domestic servant for a wealthy El Dorado dentist and oilman, and Lucy Longmyre. In 1944, due to the influence of a charismatic priest, the five Green siblings, with the exception of one brother, converted from Baptism to Roman Catholicism. Green later earned a scholarship to complete his senior year of high school at the Xavier Preparatory School, affiliated with Xavier University in New Orleans, Louisiana.

At Xavier Prep Green did well academically graduating at the top of his class His goal was to attend Epiphany Apostolic College a Josephite seminary in Newburgh on the Hudson New York and study for the priesthood However during his first semester he was wrongly diagnosed with a medical condition and was dismissed from the school Seeking a new direction for his ...


Linda Rochell Lane

Marcelite Jordon Harris, a graduate of Spelman College in Atlanta, Georgia, served as a White House aide to President Jimmy Carter. She was also the first and only black woman to earn the rank of general in the United States Air Force. While the native Texan may not have been eligible for the title of Georgia’s “favorite daughter,” Atlanta Mayor Andrew Young was impressed enough to declare a Marcelite J. Harris Day on 30 May 1988. She was presented with the key to the city of Detroit in 1990. The city of Houston, Texas, designated 11 February 1991 as Marcelite J. Harris Day. Marcelite J. Harris made it to the top of her field and in the process accumulated a succession of firsts.

Marcelite Jordon was born in Houston, Texas. She earned a BA in Speech and Drama from Spelman College in 1964 and a ...


William E. Bankston

air force pilot and first officer of United Airlines Flight 93 on 11 September 2001, was born LeRoy Wilton Homer Jr. in Long Island, New York, one of nine children of Ilse and LeRoy Homer. On 11 September 2001 Officer Homer, along with Captain Jason M. Dahl, piloted United Airlines Flight 93, which was hijacked by four terrorists while coming from Newark en route to San Francisco. Overwhelmed by the terrorists, Flight 93 eventually crashed outside Stonycreek and Shanksville, Pennsylvania, leaving no survivors.

Homer grew up in Long Island New York with nine siblings seven of them girls As a child he had a deep passion for flying He would read literature on aviation assemble model airplanes as well as collect aviation memorabilia Homer s father would often take him to the town of Islip s MacArthur Airport to view the takeoffs and landings He was only ...


Daniel “Chappie” James Jr. attended Tuskegee Institute where he joined the segregated U.S. Army Air Corps. He served in World War II and in 1943 was commissioned a second lieutenant. He served again in Korea, leading a fighter plane squadron and devising tactics to support ground troops. During the Korean War, he flew over 100 combat missions and received the Distinguished Service Medal.

In 1957 James graduated from the Air Command and Staff College in Alabama. Nine years later, during the Vietnam War, he was promoted to deputy commander for operations of the Eighth Tactical Fighter Wing in Thailand. Speaking in favor of the war and encouraging blacks to serve made him a national figure. He was often criticized for not directly supporting the Civil Rights Movement, choosing instead to be an example of an individual overcoming barriers through persistence and service.

James became the commander of the ...


Donald Roe

soldier. On 1 September 1975, General Daniel “Chappie” James Jr. received his last star to become the first African American four-star general in U.S. history. It had not been an easy journey. He confronted racial discrimination on a daily basis during the early years of his military career in the air force, and later, during the Vietnam conflict, he endured the venomous criticism of some militant blacks, who chose to see him not in terms of his great achievements as a black man in the military but as part of the establishment that was waging an immoral war in which the African American had no interest. James, however, let his record in fighting discrimination in the military speak for itself.

Daniel James Jr. was born on 11 February 1920, in Pensacola, Florida, the youngest child of Daniel and Lillie Anna James The James family lived in ...


J. Alfred Phelps

U.S. Air Force officer, was born in Pensacola, Florida, the youngest child of Lillie Anna Brown, an educator, and Daniel James Sr., a laborer. Only six of the James's seventeen children were alive when Daniel was born. Considered “a gift” by his parents, James began his education under the tutelage of his mother, who, disenchanted with the segregated Pensacola schools, opened her own school, the Lillie Anna James Private School. While Lillie Anna taught him arithmetic, patriotism, religion, English, spelling, physical education, literature, “good, common sense,” and public speaking, his father stressed hard work, academic excellence, and perseverance in the face of racism.Both parents provided homespun directives According to his mother there was an eleventh commandment Thou Shalt Not Quit Prove that you can compete on an equal basis James s parents gave him the desire to succeed the ability to enjoy the humor in life ...


Justin David Gifford

forensic psychiatrist, novelist, and filmmaker, was born in Washington, D.C., to Devonia Jefferson, a teacher and playwright, and Bernard Jefferson, a judge. At an early age, Jefferson moved with his family to Los Angeles where he attended integrated public schools. Raised in a family that discouraged him from pursing a career as a writer, Jefferson studied anthropology in college, earning his BA from the University of Southern California in 1961. In 1965 Jefferson earned his MD from Howard University and became a practicing physician in Los Angeles. In 1966, he married a teacher named Melanie L. Moore, with whom he would eventually have four children, Roland Jr., Rodney, Shannon, and Royce. Between 1969 and 1971 he served as a captain and psychiatrist at Lockborne Air Force Base in Columbus Ohio It was during this time that he ...


Patricia Carter Sluby

inventor, entrepreneur, businessman, and nuclear engineer, was born and raised in Mobile, Alabama, the third of six children of David Johnson a driver for the Air Force and Arline Washington Johnson a nurse s assistant Johnson attended W H Council Elementary School and Williamson High School in his segregated hometown Guided by tolerant and patient parents who encouraged him during his early creative years when he fiddled with junk Johnson was painfully aware of racial inequities but that did not deter his curiosity about how things worked His mother ingrained in him and his siblings the importance of knowledge emphasizing what one puts in the brain counts in life Likened to a child prodigy nosy young Johnson habitually tinkered with his siblings toys to see how they functioned In project after project he monkeyed with old jukeboxes plastic pipes compression motors and explosive rocket fuel ...


David Michel

Islamic leader, was born Benjamin Goodman, the only child of Mary Goodman, a hairdresser, and an unknown father in Suffolk, Virginia. Goodman was given his mother's last name because his parents were not married. The family was poor and both he and his mother lived in his grandmother's house. He went to the Easter Graded School in black Saratoga and in 1947 moved to New York for a year. Finding rural Virginia dull, Goodman joined the U.S. Air Force at the age of seventeen and was immediately sent to Flackman Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas, for training, after which he was transferred to Japan in 1950 He worked as a radar operator in both Japan and Korea where he experienced discrimination from white American officers Though acknowledged as the best radar operator for his work in Japan and on the war front in Korea ...


Glenn Allen Knoblock

US Air Force officer, and the first African American female fighter pilot in the service, was born in Lafayette, Indiana, the daughter of Guyanese parents who moved to the United States for educational reasons and subsequently became naturalized citizens. Kimbrell grew up in Parker, Colorado, and early on developed a love of space and flying. While in kindergarten, Kimbrell wrote to NASA about becoming an astronaut, but later “decided to focus on something I could do every day…so I started to look at the jets and flying fighters” (Rojek). In 1990 she began taking private lessons to become a pilot and in 1992, at the age of sixteen, earned her pilot's license, doing so before she earned a driver's license. Upon graduating from high school in 1994, Kimbrell received an appointment to the Air Force Academy, graduating from there as a lieutenant in May 1998 Because ...


Caroline M. Fannin

aviator and astronaut, was born in Chicago, the son of Gwendolyn Annette Williams Lawrence, a civil servant, and Robert Henry Lawrence Sr., a disabled veteran. While Lawrence and his sister were quite young, their parents divorced. Their mother married Charles Duncan, who worked as a Veterans Administration underwriter and in periodicals circulation. Robert H. Lawrence Sr. remained a strong influence in his children's lives.

Lawrence a bright and self disciplined youngster attended Haines Elementary School in inner city Chicago The family was far from affluent but the Duncans provided support and intellectual stimulation nurturing Lawrence s interests in chess model airplanes and chemistry Summers spent at the home of family friends near St Louis Missouri allowed the children to enjoy country surroundings and trips to baseball games and to nearby Lambert Airfield During the school year in Chicago visits to museums concerts or the zoo were ...


Elizabeth D. Schafer

aerospace surgeon, was born at Fort Washikie, Wyoming, the son of Vance Hunter Marchbanks Sr., an army cavalry captain, and Mattie (maiden name unknown). Marchbanks Jr. was influenced by the military career of his father, who was a veteran of both the Spanish-American War and World War I. A childhood operation inspired Marchbanks's passion for medicine, after which he operated on cherries in his backyard, opening them up, removing the stones, and sewing shut the incision.

Marchbanks encountered discrimination when he enrolled at the University of Arizona in 1927. Not allowed to live in the dormitories or participate in normal student activities, he lived in an off-campus boardinghouse. He ate at the railroad station restaurant, where he was expected to enter through the back door and was harassed; he often found cockroaches in his soup. Marchbanks graduated in 1931 and was accepted at the Howard University ...


astrophysicist and university administrator, was born in Cleveland, Ohio, the son of Arthur Bertram Cuthbert Walker Sr., a lawyer, and Hilda Forte, a social worker. At age five his family moved to New York City. Thanks to his mother, who recognized the boy's fondness for science and repeatedly intervened to prevent teachers from discouraging him, Walker enrolled in the Bronx High School of Science, where his interest in chemistry and physics heightened. In 1957 he graduated with honors in physics from the Case Institute of Technology (later Case Western Reserve University) in Cleveland, Ohio. He was elected to Tau Beta Pi, an engineering honor society, in 1955, and to Sigma Xi, a scientific research society, in 1960. At the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, with the aid of fellowships and a research assistantship, Walker earned his master's degree in 1958 and a doctorate ...