We could not fail
We could not fail
Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub
Pre-order your signed copy today.The Space Age began just as the struggle for civil rights forced Americans to confront the long and bitter legacy of slavery, discrimination, and violence against African Americans. Presidents John F. Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson utilized the space program as an agent for social change, using federal equal employment opportunity laws to open workplaces at NASA and NASA contractors to African Americans while creating thousands of research and technology jobs in the Deep South to ameliorate poverty. We Could Not Fail tells the inspiring, largely unknown story of how shooting for the stars helped to overcome segregation on earth.
Richard Paul and Steven Moss profile ten pioneer African American space workers whose stories illustrate the role NASA and the space program played in promoting civil rights. They recount how these technicians, mathematicians, engineers, and an astronaut candidate surmounted barriers to move, in some cases literally, from the cotton fields to the launching pad. The authors vividly describe what it was like to be the sole African American in a NASA work group and how these brave and determined men also helped to transform Southern society by integrating colleges, patenting new inventions, holding elective office, and reviving and governing defunct towns. Adding new names to the roster of civil rights heroes and a new chapter to the story of space exploration, We Could Not Fail demonstrates how African Americans broke the color barrier by competing successfully at the highest level of American intellectual and technological achievement.
in Florida, 1960 Source: U.S. Department of Commerce, 1960 Census of the Population, Vol. 1: Characteristics of the Population, Pt. 11: Florida (Washington, DC: Government Printing Office, 1963), 11-469, table 122. Table 4. Employed Professional and Skilled Labor in Florida, 1970 Source: U.S. Department of Commerce, 1970 Census of the Population, Vol. 1: Characteristics of the Population, Pt. 11: Florida, Section 2 (Washington, DC: Government Printing Office, 1973), 11-1679, 11-1683, table
color, creed or national origin.” He designated compliance officers at all the NASA centers.60 He also sent a memo to the program directors and staff officers of all NASA field installations telling them to “take the initiative to see that the provisions of the Executive Order [creating the PCEEO] are carried out in your area of responsibility.”61 There is evidence that the entirety of this initial message on racial integration did not get through. Tellingly, in the MSFC newsletter, the Marshall
problem Hodgson faced was not just how to further the goal of equal opportunity employment, but how to do it within the culture of NASA. It was his job to make sure NASA’s willingness to endure risk extended to hiring practices that might threaten someone’s feelings that the agency was compromising its exceptional-ism. Finding this balance and then striking and maintaining it were Hodgson’s responsibility. He also got involved in integration fights directly. Once, while on a NASA site
be clear by the end of this chapter and clearer by the end of this book that that was far from true. Compared to the other Alabama, however, it is reasonable to see where he could get that impression. Delano Hyder offered further evidence that Huntsville, while not Birmingham, was most definitely still Alabama. “We talked to the white people that we came in contact with,” he said. “We didn’t really get to see them that much, but the ones that we came in contact, it was a good relationship.”9 The
they tortured the boy and drowned him in the river.”32 While this kind of thing was sadly all too common in Brevard County, Moore was never a man to let an injustice pass, and according to William Gary, who has held the job Moore once had at the North Brevard NAACP, the community would not have let him anyway. “Speaking from personal experience,” Gary said, “you get drawn into things that you could do without, because even today people are looking for someone to provide solutions to the many