Social Justice Activists | Guion Bluford and Mae Jemison


Guion Bluford photoFew hold the prestigious title of astronaut, and even fewer hold the title of first. Two of the first include Guion Bluford, who holds title as the first black astronaut to enter space, and Mae Jemison, who was the first black female to enter space.

Bluford, born in 1942, was encouraged from an early age to pursue knowledge. He graduated with an aerospace engineering degree in 1964 ( Editors, n.d.). After winning multiple medals for his service during the Vietnam War, Bluford continued his education, earning both a Masters and a Ph.D. ( Editors, n.d.).

Jemison, born in 1956, was equally driven. She entered Stanford University on scholarship at just 16 years old (Redd, 2012). She subsequently earned a BS in Chemical Engineering and a BA in African and African American studies, and then received her Ph.D. in medicine from Cornell (Redd, 2012). Jemison spent time in the Peace Corps before returning home to work as a doctor (Redd, 2012).

Mae Jemison photoBluford entered space a mere nine years before Jemison, his 1983 to her 1992 ( Editors, n.d.; Redd, 2012). Both, though, made history with their missions.

Since his retirement from NASA in 1993, Bluford has worked for various private companies and was inducted into the International Space Hall of Fame (1997) and the United States Astronaut Hall of Fame (2010) ( Editors, n.d.). Jemison also left NASA in 1993, and after teaching at Dartmouth, she founded her own company, “seeking to encourage a love of science in students and bring advanced technology around the world” (Redd, 2012).


References Editors. (n.d.). Guion S. Bluford biography. Retrieved from

Redd, N. T. (2012, Aug 17). Mae Jemison: Astronaut biography. Retrieved from