Space, the final frontier


 

Space: the final frontier. I was part of a debate started by a troll on a political page and he just got on his soap box about the evils spending money on space exploration. Eventually the moderator warned him either conduct yourself accordingly or be booted. He actually missed the point about space which was reinforced when I saw a short clip about Dr. Ronald McNair, who was born in the south a few months before I was born in the Upper South. It told a story of how as a young boy he had caused a stir in his racially segregated town when he went to the library to check out some books about science.

 

His mother went down to the library to rescue him and he got the books, after all, what harm could a young boy cause by reading? In his teens, McNair was inspired by the program Star Trek that showed inter-racial harmony aboard a space ship. There was a beautiful African-American woman on board with a responsible position as communications officer: Lieutenant Uhura. Her name was probably inspired by the Swahili word Uhuru which means freedom. Unfortunately the space flight of Dr. Ronald McNair on board the Challenger ended in tragedy as it blew up shortly after liftoff.  Many people drew inspiration from the Star Trek program. In fact I was told that Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. visited the actress Denise Nichols to tell her how important her role was for African-Americans.

The library that Dr. McNair had visited was later renamed in his honor and we have schools across the country including Milwaukee named for him. It’s not bourgeois to be inspired by something greater than yourself, it’s just being human. When we join in struggle we need to understand the world around us and the meaning that things may hold for different people. If a world existed with racial harmony, it would probably be a worker’s world and wouldn’t that be grand?

 

Nichols as Lieutenant Uhura.
Nichols as Lieutenant Uhura. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

Ronald Erwin McNair
Ronald Erwin McNair (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

 

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