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90-Year-Old Ed Dwight Makes History And Becomes The Oldest Person To Fly To Space

Ed Dwight has officially made history! On May 19, Blue Origin’s New Shepard NS-25 launched its first human flight in nearly two years, which Dwight was onboard for — making him the oldest person to go to space at age 90, according to ABC News. As previously reported by AFROTECH™, the former Air Force captain made history in 1961 after being selected by President John F. Kennedy as the first Black astronaut candidate in the U.S. But after completing the Aerospace Research Pilot School (ARPS) and receiving a recommendation from the U.S. Air Force to move forward, he wasn’t selected for the NASA Astronaut Corps — missing out on the opportunity to fly to space. However, now over 60 years later, Dwight has reached the monumental milestone. “You’ve waited a long time for this opportunity and all of us who stand on your shoulders could not be happier,” Charles Bolden, the first Black NASA administrator, told the outlet. As an astronaut, Bolden himself served on four missions to space. “I...

Ngozi Nwanji

May 20, 2024

McKinley Thompson Jr. Broke Barriers And Developed Concepts That Led To The Bronco, Mustang And More At Ford Motor Co.

From the time he was a kid, McKinley Thompson Jr. was never afraid to chase his dreams, and now everyone has him to thank for the Ford Bronco that the culture grew to know and love. Thanks to Thompson’s imagination and skill, he made history as the first Black designer to be hired by Ford Motor Co., and his first assignment consisted of working at Ford’s advanced design studio in Dearborn, MI, per the Ford media website. His love for cars first began around age 12 when he spotted a silver-gray DeSoto Airflow in Queens, NY, the neighborhood where he was raised. “It just so happened that the clouds opened up for the sunshine to come through,” Thompson recalled in a 2001 interview that was documented by The Henry Ford. “It lit that car up like a searchlight. I was never so impressed with anything in all my life. I knew that’s what I wanted to do – I wanted to be an automobile designer.” While serving as an Army Signal Corps in World War II, Thompson learned drafting and began work as...

Shanique Yates

Apr 17, 2024

Ed Dwight, The First Black Astronaut Candidate In The US, Will Be In The Crew For Blue Origin's New Shepard-25 Space Mission

Blue Origin has birthed a full-circle moment for former Air Force Captain and Kansas City, KS, native Ed Dwight. Back in 1961, Dwight made history as he was selected by President John F. Kennedy as the first Black astronaut candidate in the U.S., according to a news release. However, after completing the Aerospace Research Pilot School (ARPS) and receiving a recommendation from the U.S. Air Force to move forward, he wasn’t selected for the NASA Astronaut Corps and missed out on the chance to fly to space. Now, six decades later, Dwight is set to be on board for Blue Origin’s latest New Shepard mission to space — marking its seventh human flight and 25th program to date — the news release details. What’s more, his seat is sponsored by the nonprofit Space for Humanity and the Jaison and Jamie Robinson Foundation. Before being selected for Blue Origin’s space mission, Dwight went from an early career as an entrepreneur to sculpting monuments that commemorate Black historical leaders...

Ngozi Nwanji

Apr 8, 2024

Shelly Cayette Makes History As The First Chief Operating Officer Of An NBA Team

Okay, ladies, let’s get in formation! According to Bleacher Report, the Cleveland Cavaliers have officially promoted Shelly Cayette to both executive vice president and chief operating officer (COO). She will now make history as the first Black woman to serve as COO of an NBA team. “Look, I’ve got to tell you – part of me would like to see the day when I’m not making history,” said Cayette. “It’s nice to know that I’m the first, but hopefully I can open doors so there aren’t any more first. The goal is to do away with firsts.” This isn’t the first time the Cleveland Cavaliers have broken gender-related barriers. In fact, the team hired Lindsay Gottlieb, making her the first woman to join an NBA coaching staff.

Shanique Yates

Jan 27, 2022

Salenah Cartier Repeats History As The Youngest University Of Houston Graduate For The Second Year In A Row

The only competition for Salenah Cartier is herself! Salenah Cartier is reportedly the youngest graduate from the University of Houston (UH) for the second year in a row. She was only 17-years-old when she made history as the youngest graduate from UH, where she earned a degree in psychology and business. Now, Salenah Cartier has done it again after receiving her master’s of education in curriculum and instruction from the college of education.

Shanique Yates

Dec 27, 2021

How Wieden & Kennedy's John 'JP' Petty Found His Identity At An HBCU — 'It Was Very Necessary'

When John “JP” Petty was promoted to an executive level at Wieden & Kennedy, he couldn’t help but shout out his Historically Black College and University (HBCU) alma mater, Lincoln University. According to Petty, the education he got from the acclaimed HBCU was indeed second to none — but in actuality, he got so much more, too. “Without Lincoln, I wouldn’t have gotten to know myself ,” he told AfroTech. “That’s where I came to my full realization of self, as a Black man — and how it helped me find my place in this world. It was there that I realized I didn’t have to be an athlete, or a rapper, to be a success in this world. I could do it on my own terms, in my own way — so, yes, I fully recommend that anyone who can, should absolutely attend an HBCU. It was very necessary for me, and it can be very necessary for you, too.” Until now, Petty has served as head of social for W+K’s New York office, where he has been integral in building a robust social practice, as well as helping to...

In 2014, Kobe Bryant Invested $6M In BodyArmor — Now, The Sports Drink Company Is Being Acquired For $5.6B

BodyArmor, a sports drink company that received an initial investment from the late Kobe Bryant, will be acquired for $5.6 billion by the Coca-Cola company. According to CNBC, the acquisition will be the largest of its kind by the soft drink company, which will have full control of the brand. The Coca-Cola Company is looking to position BodyArmor as the direct competition to Gatorade, which is owned by Pepsico. Gatorade currently has about 70 percent of the market share in sports drinks, which gives its parent company nearly full dominance over the market. What makes this full acquisition so notable is that Coca-Cola was once the sports drink’s second-largest shareholder. They bought into the company back in 2018 in a deal that gave them 15 percent ownership in the company. At the time, too, the late Kobe Bryant was the third-largest shareholder in the company, as well — and his investment was made just two years after the company was launched. According to the outlet, Kobe Bryant’s...

Black History & Coffee Are Served In Equal Measure In This Alabama Café

Imagine a café where you can get your daily cup of coffee and a history lesson at the same time. Catrice and Jakyra Hixon’s coffee shop — Melanin Café — does just that. The couple recently opened their café in Opelika, Alabama with the hopes to serve quality coffee while celebrating melanin and fostering a peaceful environment, The Associated Press reports . The café is even more of a family affair with Hixon’s sister, Crystal Slaughter, as part of the team as the café’s baker. Black history is cleverly taught through the café’s menu in that “every drink has a name associated with lesser-known Black contributors and landmarks.” “We learned about Black history in school, but we only got civil rights, Martin Luther King and Rosa Parks,” Hixon said. “I wanted to bring forward people we don’t really know about, people like inventors, scientists and doctors.” Their menu also puts a focus on the local Opelika history, such as a drink named after Dr. John W. Darden — Opelika’s first Black...

Ngozi Nwanji

Oct 1, 2021

Dr. Patricia Bath To Become One Of The First Black Women Inducted Into The National Inventors Hall of Fame

This recognition is well overdue! Dr. Patricia Era Bath shook the world up when she invented one of the most important surgical tools in history while stepping further into her role as a groundbreaking ophthalmologist. Now, the late doctor will be honored by the National Inventors Hall of Fame (NIHF), reports PR Newswire. She along with Marian Croak will be the first two Black women a part of the NIHF Inductee Class of 2022 on May 5. In 1986, Dr. Bath invented what is arguably one of the most important surgical tools in the history of ophthalmology — the Laserphaco Probe for cataract treatment. Her use of the Excimer Laser helped to create a device and new method that is responsible for the minimally invasive cataract surgery that we know today. “To know that my mother is part of the 2022 class of National Inventors Hall of Fame Inductees is an unbelievable honor,” said her daughter Dr. Eraka Bath. “Her incredible path- and her contributions to the study of ophthalmology, cannot be...

Shanique Yates

Sep 22, 2021

Da’Vion Tatum Made History As His High School's First Black Male Valedictorian — Now, He's Enrolled At Harvard

Da’Vion Tatum is making history as he heads to Harvard University! Tatum has not only made history as the first Black male valedictorian of his high school, but he has millions of dollars worth of scholarships and acceptances into 11 various colleges and universities to match. Now, he wants to use his story to inspire and encourage other young men. “My story specifically can help other young Black men to know that just because society may say one thing about you, or there may be a stigma or stereotype that surrounds being a Black man, doesn’t necessarily mean you’re confined to that , ” said Tatum in an interview with Fox 26 Houston earlier last month. Not only is he at Harvard, but the 18-year-old penned his very own autobiography, “Thriving In My Own Lane,” to further share all that it took for him to reach such a monumental milestone in his life. The Westfield High School graduate first began writing the book in eighth grade. “It was to show that regardless of what’s happening...

Shanique Yates

Sep 8, 2021

Darrel Harris Went From Making $10.50/Hour To Yellow Trucking Company's First Black President

Education may not be everything, but a strong work ethic is, and Darrel Harris is proof of that in the trucking industry. For Harris, formal education wasn’t in his plans when he sought a career, but making money and a life for himself was. Thanks to advice from his mother’s boyfriend at age 19, he landed a job as a dock worker where he says the money made was like a dream come true coming from where he was from, Yahoo! Finance reports. “I went down there and applied for the job and I’ll never forget they offered me $10.50 an hour as a part-time dockworker and where I come from that’s real money,” said Harris in an interview with Black Enterprise. “I remember at the time thinking if I can hang on to this job and make $10.50 a year for the rest of my career I’ll be happy.” Life had bigger plans for Harris, who over about two and a half decades managed to work his way up the trucking and shipping industry ladder to become Yellow Trucking’s first Black president. In April, Harris...

Shanique Yates

Aug 19, 2021

UNCF, Getty Images Partner For Scholarship Program To Document HBCUs' Visual History

The United Negro College Fund is teaming up with Getty Images to invest in the future of young Black leaders and their history. According to a press release, their partnership includes creating the UNCF-Getty Images Scholarship for students at Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs). The scholarship will be funded by revenue produced by the inaugural Getty Images Photo Archive Grants for HBCUs, which aims to support the digitization of HBCUs’ visual history. “We thank Getty Images for its partnership and investment in our students’ futures. The Getty Images Photo Archive Grants for HBCUs exemplifies Getty Images’ commitment to support HBCUs and to give a visual life to previously untold stories,” UNCF President and CEO Dr. Michael L. Lomax said in a statement. “There is a wealth of unseen imagery within the archives of HBCUs that have rarely been seen, and these grants from Getty Images will be an essential part of the on-going documentation and preservation of Black...

Njera Perkins

Aug 12, 2021

Cynthia Erivo Connects With Adobe For A 3D Storytelling Project To Prove That 'Skate History Is Black History'

Skating has played a pivotal role in Black culture for decades. From civil rights movements to a resurgence of Black skaters across social media during the pandemic to give us all a glimpse of Black joy — these are all a part of a larger story of the rich Black history that’s shaped the world of roller skating as we know it. On Aug. 10, Adobe announced a new project with “Widows” actress Cynthia Erivo. The project “Stories on Skates” transforms the narrative of the rich history of the Black skate community around the world into 3D roller skate designs aimed to share the prolific stories and history which all have been influenced by the rink. “I was so excited to work with Adobe on Stories on Skates to showcase Black skating culture, especially as an expression of Black joy and creativity,” shared Erivo in an official press release. “This project brings to life stories from the rink that are inspiring, important, and deserve to be remembered. My hope is that Stories on Skates is a...

Shanique Yates

Aug 10, 2021

Strive Masiyiwa Net Worth: Here's What Britain's First Black Billionaire Is Up To As A Coronavirus Envoy

While the name Strive Masiyiwa may not ring immediate bells, he’s one of the best-known men on the African continent. The London-based Zimbabwean billionaire, who is the founder of Econet Global, has been making headlines all over the world as a so-called “coronavirus envoy.” He’s been holding local and regional governments to account for their failure to produce the life-saving vaccines, and he’s been dragging Covax — created by the World Health Organization to deliver the COVID-19 vaccines to so-called “developing countries” — by its collective neck for their continued failure to deliver on their promises. Let’s break down everything we know about this businessman and philanthropist, and get a better understanding of why his work is so vital. Strive Masiyiwa Net Worth 2021: A Full Breakdown Considered one of the richest men in Africa, and Britain’s first Black billionaire, Strive Masiyiwa has a net worth of $1.6 billion USD, according to Forbes Magazine. Most of his assets come...