Kevin Wolf/AP Images for Bayer Making Science Make Sense
At the Oscars this weekend, one spotlight will shine on African-American women in the space race, thanks to the movie Hidden Figures, which is nominated for three Academy Awards, including best picture.
Mae Jemison made history in this field as the first African-American woman in space, as part of the crew on Space Shuttle Endeavour in 1992.
Jemison tells NPR’s Ari Shapiro she welcomes this new interest in women and minorities who broke boundaries in space because those people were previously excluded from the narrative.
“Well, I think it’s one of those things that really needs to be done,” Jemison says. “And this is because people of all types have made contributions across the spectrum of the sciences, across the spectrum of space exploration, and they have been left out many times, purposefully.”
On being the first African-American woman in space
I always think of it as like, “What do you do with your place at the table?” If you act just like everyone else, what difference does it make that you’re there?
And so for me — having grown up on the South Side of Chicago going to public schools, having been a medical doctor, having worked in Cambodian refugee camps as well as being an engineer as well as being someone who was very versed in dance and the arts — yes, I’m supposed to bring those perspectives to bear on the questions that we ask about space exploration.
Listen Here: http://www.npr.org/2017/02/22/516695456/after-making-history-in-space-mae-jemison-works-to-prime-future-scientists